Sandia LabNews

Popular YouTube show features Sandia energy science


PHYSICS GIRL — YouTube creator Dianna Cowern turned to Sandia researchers to help her break down current and emerging energy science in a recent video series on her popular “Physics Girl” YouTube channel. (Photo courtesy of Dianna Cowern)

With nearly 150 million views on her popular YouTube channel since 2011, Dianna Cowern has been bringing science to life through experiments, demonstrations and other compelling discoveries. This summer, Cowern, known to many as “Physics Girl,” took her show on the road, taking an 1,800-mile road trip with her production crew in a hydrogen fuel cell car as part of a series she was creating on what it will take to create a renewable, zero-emission future.

In her video on energy storage, the MIT physics grad turned STEM educator talked to scientists, researchers and engineers working to develop innovative ways of addressing the intermittency of wind and solar energy.

Cowern turned to Sandia scientists Chris San Marchi and Anna Snider Lord to help her break down the current and emerging science of producing hydrogen by renewable methods.

“Hydrogen really is a very flexible energy storage media and conveyance media,” Chris said. “So it can be really a central theme in our future energy portfolio.”

In the final video in the renewable energy series, Cowern visited with Cliff Ho to help unpack how concentrating solar power works and the future impacts of the technology.

“It doesn’t convert sunlight directly to electricity like photovoltaics does,” Cliff explained. “It uses lots of mirrors to generate heat by concentrating the sunlight, focusing it on materials to heat it up.”

Sandia’s renewable energy research programs support the resilience and security of our nation’s energy systems through fundamental and applied R&D and physical and computational research.

Learn more about the Labs’ Concentrating Solar Power program and other renewable energy research at Sandia.