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A Complete (and Factual!) History of Science Video

Science’s Entrance into the Age of the “Talkies”

This is a guest post by Adam Ruben, PhD. The opinions expressed are his own.

Scientific journals are great—they communicate technical results, postulate new theories, and help cure insomnia. But the Journal of Visualized Experiments is different. JoVE represents a new breed of scientists, a generation aware that if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand words plus a pop-up ad.

As we approach the one-year anniversary of JoVE’s 2500th video article, let’s examine the history of scientific results distributed by digital video:

"Video Killed The Radio Star," Buggles, 1979. ©Universal Music Group
“Video Killed The Radio Star,” Buggles, 1979. ©Universal Music Group
  • 1979: Video is suspected in the aggravated homicide of the Radio Star, age 72. The Radio Star is survived by its grandchildren, Streaming and Podcast, and its spouse, CB.
  • 1993: Scientists upload a digital video of their work to the new “world wide web” in June. The video is successfully downloaded in November.
  • 2005: YouTube is founded, allowing scientists to easily share results, data, and OMG Most Hilarious Pet Fails.
  • 2006: The Journal of Visualized Experiments debuts and shoots to the top of the list of sensory scientific journals, immediately surpassing the Journal of Auditory Experiments, the Annals of Taste, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Smells.
  • 2008: A mis-registered URL accidentally directs users to the similar-sounding but profoundly different Journal of Vaporized Earthworms.
  • 2011: 3D video is introduced.
  • 2012: 3D video is never used again.
  • 2014: You convince your institution to subscribe to JoVE. YES YOU DO. YOU DO IT RIGHT NOW.
  • 2158: JoVE disbands, as videos of scientific results are instantly and automatically uploaded to the brains of all humanity. Scientists are still misunderstood.
Adam Ruben. Photo courtesy of Gareth Cornick.
Adam Ruben. Photo courtesy of Gareth Cornick.

Adam Ruben is a molecular biologist, a television host on the Discovery Channel’s “Outrageous Acts of Science” and author of the book “Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School.” 

You can read more of Adam Ruben’s work on the JoVE blog here.

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