Nigel Braun began posting his chemistry experiments to YouTube in 2014 under the name NileRed (after the lipophilic stain) with no intention of amassing such a large audience. But now, four years later, he has over 420,000 subscribers that tune in regularly to watch his latest experiment. The mission is to prove that science can be a topic as engaging and fascinating as any other — often even more so.
The channel currently features four playlists: extractions, odors, syntheses and demonstrations, and spontaneous combustion, although videos often don’t fall into those categories. The extractions playlist features videos on extracting certain substances from others; for example, extracting citric acid from lemons, caffeine from coffee, and starch from potatoes, as well as some slightly more offbeat extractions such as lidocaine from anal lubricant. The odors playlist is entirely about how to make certain odors like cadaverine and butyric acid, the smells of rotting flesh and vomit respectively. The combustions and syntheses playlists feature various chemical reactions and accompanying explanations.
Most of his videos have hundreds of thousands of views, but some have garnered well over a million. His most popular video to date, which shows how mercury and aluminum react to form a mercury alloy, has 7.4 million views. Other videos with more views include instructional videos on how to make chloroform and alcohol on your own, as well as other chemical reactions.
Nigel has also created a website and shop for his channel, where he has a blog that he shares information about his videos on. He finds materials such as glassware and chemicals from various sources and is careful to warn viewers that certain experiments should not be conducted without proper safety materials and safely procured chemicals.
To learn more about NileRed, listen to the full interview and check out the links below.
YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/TheRedNile
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