Although the title is difficult to pronounce, Kurzgesagt simply means “in a nutshell” in German. The scientific YouTube channel uses stylized animations in addition to its educational story to discuss difficult topics in its videos, each of which is about ten minutes long. However, many of Kurzgesagt’s videos tend to arouse existential dread, but they are worth checking out anyway because of the great knowledge they provide.
The channel has playlists titled ‘The Universe and Space Stuff’, ‘The Existential Crisis Playlist’, ‘Futurism’ and ‘Medicine & Biology’ among others, so there are plenty of videos to enjoy, exploring topics of science and technology to politics and philosophy. Obviously, Kurzgesagt understands the enormity of the universe and everything in it. But instead of shrinking from our terrifying reality (even if it is an understandable response), Kurzgesagt chooses to face it head-on. After all, fear stems from ignorance, so what better remedy than to be educated?
The channel’s colorful yet minimalist animation balances out the terribly huge topics it covers, making it easier to visualize and process what you’re hearing (as does the narrator’s smooth and appropriately calming voice). The channel is known for using cute animated birds in its videos, which is genuinely endearing. Joining the channel’s Patreon for the $ 40-a-month tier will give you a chic and unique Bird Icon – and your bird will be featured in a future video, joining the ranks of the Kurzgesagt Bird Army can be seen on the channel’s website.
Kurzgesagt has been around for years and does its best to answer the tough questions that bounce around everyone at three in the morning. The team does a great job researching the topics it chooses and explaining even the most difficult in a simple and straightforward way that everyone can understand. The pace of each video is comfortably fast and tells you everything you need to know in a concise manner. Or, as they say, in a nutshell.
The channel goes to great lengths to ensure that the videos are not only entertaining but also remain reliable (unlike other edutainment channels on YouTube, which just care about being flashy and getting clicks). The channel really does its best to find stories worth telling, to take into account every possible perspective and context, and to decide whether the video should be a comprehensive overview or just an introduction. The writers and researchers are committed to reviewing multiple sources, talking to trusted experts, and seeking feedback from them before publishing a video.
So far, Kurzgesagt has amassed more than 13.8 million YouTube subscribers since it was first founded in 2013. It has also produced more than 100 videos, generating more than a billion views in total. And with perspective-shaking videos like ‘The Egg’, ‘The Warrior Kingdoms of the Weaver Ant’, ‘The Origin of Consciousness’, ‘Wormholes Explained’ and ‘How to Build a Dyson Sphere – The Ultimate Megastructure’, it’s easy to understand why. There are few things in life better than that someone knowledgeable can ease our existential fears with well-researched information and adorable animated birds.
In 2015, Kurzgesagt was commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create a video about the end of the disease, and has since worked with the foundation on other assignments, including a video about maternity mortality. In March 2020, the channel released a video explaining COVID-19, which has now been viewed more than 28 million times.
Typically, the channel releases two to three videos per month, which is impressive given the small size of their modest production team. And in a site where explainer videos are a dime in a dozen, Kurzgesagt manages to stand out, and especially with his great writing and creative animations. It also has an active subreddit where you can chat with other fans about recent videos and similar topics.
So if you have a bit of free time and don’t mind facing the sheer size of the universe, feel free to drop by Kurzgesagt’s brilliant YouTube channel and watch a video or two.