Dianna Cowern is the creator and host of the viral and PBS sponsored “Physics Girl” web series with over 1.7 Million Subscribers, which is a resource for fun physics videos and other materials about physics and topics related to physics. Her videos have 120 million views. Her show has featured well known figures including the legendary Rodney Mullen, Bill Nye, and Anne Wojcicki – founder of 23 and me. In 2019, Dianna was named to the FORBES 30 under 30 list.
Dianna researched dark matter with Prof. Jocelyn Monroe as an undergraduate at MIT, and low-metallicity stars with Prof. Anna Frebel as a post-baccalaureate research fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, before bringing her happy intern pants to GE where she worked as a Software Engineer designing mobile apps.
Dianna is sought after as a science communication expert as well as an in-demand speaker talking about the future of education and how to better relate to students using various medias. Dianna says: “I just love that physics can explain the world, and the weird intricacies of it, and the weird quirks of our universe.” Some of the biggest CEOs and leaders on the planet are fans of Dianna because their children are hooked on her educational YouTube Channel! She has been featured in FORBES, Science Magazine, Popular Science, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Space.com, NBC, Vogue, HuffPost, Nerdist, and many more.
Where science meets cat videos
YouTube was originally perceived as an entertainment medium to watch pets, gaming, and music videos. In recent years, educational channels have gained momentum on the platform, some garnering millions of subscribers and billions of views. The Physics Girl YouTube channel is an educational series with PBS Digital Studios created by Dianna Cowern. Using Physics Girl as an example, this talk will examine what it takes to start a short-form educational video series. We will look at the channel’s demographical reach, best practices for effective physics outreach, and survey how online media and technology can facilitate good and bad learning. This talk will show how videos are a unique way to share science and enrich the learning experience, in and out of a classroom.
Physics beyond the formulas: Creating and sharing demonstrations
In classroom learning, the question is often asked, “What does this have to do with real life?” Some of the most effective learning comes from student-driven questions, curiosity and from when students can tie learning concepts to their daily lives. The aim of the PBS YouTube series Physics Girl has been to connect physics to the real world in a conceptual way through curiosity-inspired questions. There are two parts to this talk. One will focus on the characteristics of effective physics demonstrations as guided by the success of certain experiment-based physics videos in an online world full of non-educational noise. What demos work in videos and why? The second part will focus on how sharing can enhance the learning experience. What makes viewers care about these demonstrations? This part will address the collaboration and feedback gained by sharing physics during the learning process.
Video: the new medium of education – Popular Keynote or Workshop
Dianna is often asked to talk to educators around the world about using the video medium as a way to present lessons, experiments, and other scientific educational material in the classroom. She is passionate about today’s pathway for Science Communication and what she has been able to do with video to reach millions of viewers on YouTube – bringing physics and science to the masses! Young students today pay attention and learn much differently than they did even 10 years ago. Dianna is on the cutting edge of this movement and has a firm grasp on new media and the technology driving it.