Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Does anyone know about good video documentaries about physics, possibly on YouTube?

I've seen a couple of them about string theory, but I could not find many others.

share|cite|improve this question

closed as too broad by tpg2114, Emilio Pisanty, Chris White, Brandon Enright, Manishearth Nov 25 '13 at 20:39

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


Feynman's Messenger Lectures are fun. They're available from Microsoft, which requires some special software, and on YouTube.

These are not really documentaries. IMHO the physics documentaries I've seen (things like PBS's NOVA) are entertainment more than education. That's not to say they don't have interesting historical value (as opposed to physics pedagogical value), so whether they're worth watching depends on what you want from them.

share|cite|improve this answer

They are probably not on Youtube, but many of BBC's series are pretty good documentaries, although, obviously, quite "popularized".

For example, their 2007 series "Visions of the future" was a 3-part series about "The Intelligence Revolution", "The Biotech revolution" and "The Quantum revolution".

Their Horizon-series also encompasses many popular physics-subjects, perhaps these are what you've seen about string-theory.

I don't remember the name, but one historically interesting documentary was one about how temperature and heat was discovered and how the quest for cooling to yet colder temperatures proceeded.

On Youtube, the Feynman lectures stand out. Just search for "Feynman lectures" on Youtube, there are many. This is the first of a series of lectures of QED, Quantum Electrodynamics of which he was a pioneer. This lecture is an absolute must-view!

This youtube-user has posted a lot of interviews and talks.

share|cite|improve this answer
A couple more good BBC ones include: Prof. Brian Cox's 'Wonders of the Solar System' followed by series two 'Wonders on the Universe'. Also search for a 2-part documentary by Prof. Jim Al-Khalili called 'Everything and Nothing'. – qftme May 15 '11 at 11:57
I also liked the BBC documentary named: The secret life of chaos. – Hunter Nov 25 '13 at 15:09

You could try Shankar's two lecture courses at Yale, He's pretty highly rated by students at Yale, and there was positive feedback from someone I recommended this to on PhysicsForums. Yale open courses are one of the offerings mentioned on Wikipedia at

Obviously these are not documentaries as such. They will require more engagement to get something from them. This is not intended to be an Answer in the precise terms of your Question.

share|cite|improve this answer

PBS nova series the elegant universe is informative and thought provoking

share|cite|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.