Nickipedia Presents: Mad Science

Nick Uhas is a science YouTube personality and host of "Nickipedia." Nick has a BS in Biology which helps in the planning and safety precautions that go into these experiments. Catch Nick performing mad science experiments LIVE on NBC's Today Show on August 31, 2016. Learn more about Nick and watch some of his mad experiments below.

Nick Uhas
Content Creator, Nickipedia
What got you started in YouTube's science world?

Love this question! It's a two-part answer that has to be mixed in equal parts to get the right reaction.

Part 1: Both of my parents were teachers growing up so education was very important in the Uhas household. For this reason my brother and I both focused on the sciences in school. I totally fell in love with Biology as a sophomore taking AP Bio. From that point on I joined all the science clubs in school and chose to be a pre-med/Biology Major in college. During college I became a published organic chemist and anatomy TA and finished with a 3.92 (basically lived at the library like every good pre-med student). In my senior year I wanted to branch out a little bit and applied to Yale's undergrad program for Economics and Video Production.

Part 2: It was my TA, Kurt Hugo Schneider, at Yale University that got me into YouTube. Kurt (a music producer who now has over 7,000,000 subs on his channel) showed me the basics of video production and that insane hard work always pays off. After working on a feature film with Kurt at Yale University about a popular web series called "College Musical" I began working for College Humor in NYC. After three years of working on content for other people's channels I moved to LA (after being on Big Brother) and re-booted my YouTube channel with the show "Nickipedia". The show really blended all of the things I love in life: science, learning, and comedy. A lot has came from the series even though were not the biggest fish in the YouTube pond... yet. For example, I've made multiple appearances on the Today Show, Dr.Oz, Fox n Friends, and currently host a Fox morning TV show all as a result of my YouTube channel. Nickipedia has become a central focus of my life because I am completely obsessed with making new infotainment videos... I'm truly addicted to making new videos and my team and I only want to keep making more!

What has been your most challenging experiment to date?

No question about it, hands down the most DIFFICULT, AGONIZING, HEAD-AGAINST-THE-WALL experiment was the one that a Curiosity employee suggested we do. This was an experiment set up by creating a cloud chamber to see (with your naked eye) alpha and beta particles emission i.e. radiation. The problem was... well... everything. First it was the cloud chamber (couldn't get it to work properly), then it was vapor-creating device (went to Home Depot 9 times), then it was our radioactive source (Americium from smoke detectors or relying on cosmic waves from outer space did not work)... so we eventually purchased radioactive lead-210 from the internet (yes you can do that) to make this experiment happen. We spent (not exaggerating here) over 90 hours trying to get this thing to happen. The whole video can actually be seen on my channel "How To See Radiation". I sweat a little bit when I think about how weird things got on that shoot.

What about the most fun or surprising experiment?

There is a tie here. The first one is the "Deep Voice Gas" experiment. When I was watching videos of this gas "Sulfur Hexaflouride" online it looked completely fake. Then while renting a dewar (the container that holds liq nitrogen) a guy working at the rental house suggested we do this experiment that makes your voice 6x lower. He also had a 5 lb. cylinder of SF6 (the gas that would make this happen). We invited him to come out to our liquid nitrogen shoot and when I inhaled SF6 for the first time (which sounds like a drug... but I promise you it is not) I could not believe that the sound coming out of my mouth was my own voice! The gas is so dense you can actually feel it in your lungs and exiting your esophagus... it is so strange.

The second is one we did recently and that was the Oobleck experiment, which is a compound that is solid and liquid at the same time. The stuff is super weird and incredibly fun to play with. The part that was surprising for me was our discovery that Oobleck rots! And after we made over 400 lbs. of it and left it in my buddies back yard we learned the hard way! I had to scoop every pound of this sour-cottage cheese-dirt-sock-smelling powder goop up and into 3 large industrial trashcans. I could actually taste the rotting flavor in my mouth on the hour drive home.

Any tips for curious minds who want to conduct science experiments at home?

Yea! Number one, actually wear your safety equipment. These experiments looks easy but you can get injured-bruised-scared-burned pretty bad. I forgot to wear my goggles on an experiment with fire and came close to losing my eyebrows. These experiments can be serious business so take the necessary precaution!

What's the one takeaway you want all your fans to learn from your Mad Science series?

I encourage everyone to dig deeper when these experiments spark some curiosity! We do these fun experiments to get your brain going so I would want everyone to then dive deep into that weird 3 hour internet rabbit hole search where you start with "What's The Weather For Tomorrow?" and end up reading a 6 page article on "Why Do I Hate The Sound of Chewing"... let your curiosity lead you!

What Are Fire Bubbles?

In the video below, he shows how combining dish soap with flammable gas can have fiery results. Seriously...don't try this at home.

400 lbs of Oobleck

Is it a solid or a liquid? Uncover the answer.

Have You Ever Wanted To Create A Cloud?

Now you can. Just don't forget your safety goggles.

The Cloud Chamber Experiment Lets You SEE Radiation

See for yourself.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Subatomic particles, such as protons, neutrons, and electrons, are the building blocks of all the matter in the universe. 00:22

  2. Radioactive materials emit subatomic particles. 02:58

  3. In a cloud chamber, a charged particle moving through alcohol vapor causes water droplets to become charged and attract other droplets, forming visible "streaks." 04:19

Written by Curiosity Staff September 16, 2016

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