What is Energy? Kickstarter


From quantum to cosmos, evolution to economics, ENERGY is everywhere. 10 expert videos explain the science of this mysterious essence. Make a Pledge…

  • Launched: Oct 15, 2012
  • Funding ends: Nov 13, 2012

ENERGY may be the single most important idea in science. Energy’s influence spans health, technology, economics, and art. People who grasp the concept of ENERGY can better understand their lives, avoid magical thinking, and feel at home in the universe.  They also have a head-start in understanding the rest of science’s most fundamental subject: physics.

Wonderfest, the nonprofit San Francisco Bay Area Beacon of Science, is producing a 10-program series of popular YouTube videos to help EVERYONE understand energy—in physics, in life, in the cosmos, and in culture.

Expert contributions to this new Radical Physics video series will come from:

  • Jack Conte, music & videography (Independent)
  • Alex Filippenko, astronomy & cosmology (UC Berkeley)
  • Tucker Hiatt, physics (Wonderfest)
  • Sean Randolph, economics (Bay Area Council Economic Institute)
  • Robert Siegel, biology (Stanford)
  • Richard Zare, chemistry (Stanford)

The ten “What Is Energy?” videos (each of about 10-min duration) will be produced at Wonderfest Studio in Corte Madera, California. They will form an important and lasting part of Wonderfest’s Radical Physics online programming.

Radical Physics, in turn, is important for its ability to excite students about physics, the most fundamental of the sciences. (Physics forms the foundation of virtually all fields of engineering — and, ideally, of every maturing individual’s coherent world-view.)

The famous Khan Academy has opened our minds to the potential of online learning. Radical Physics (RP) offers several improvements over the Khan Academy approach to physics teaching: (1) RP’s principal instructor is an award-winning physics teacher with 35 years of classroom experience; (2) RP promotes use of the outstanding PhET online laboratory simulations; (3) RP has a look-you-in-the-eye “talking head” format that draws the viewer in—as television news has done so effectively for over fifty years; (4) RP on-screen demonstrations make use of exquisite equipment on loan from PASCO Scientific; (5) RP allows fun incorporation of compelling action scenes from popular movies; and (6) RP benefits from occasional interviews with Bay Area experts, including Wonderfest advisors from Stanford and UC Berkeley.

The utility of Radical Physics is easy to envision once its programs reach a broad student audience. Radical Physics episodes will supplement and clarify the classroom experiences of physics students in good school environments. They will fully enfranchise students who have inexperienced physics teachers. They will rescue students whose schools (or homes) offer no physics at all. Maybe best of all, Radical Physics will captivate many others who previously thought that they were “just not the physics type.”

Please support Radical Physics through this Kickstarter campaign AND by simply sharing knowledge of it with every science student and teacher you know.

Make a Pledge…


– Tucker Hiatt, Wonderfest Founder & Executive Director