X Is for Xperiments: #10YearsofYouTube

May 25, 2015

What happens when you mix diet soda, a certain mint candy and some serious science? As more than 40,000 YouTube videos demonstrate, something super awesome.

Since our earliest days, YouTube has served as home-base for the informative, hilarious and downright crazy DIY experiments they didn’t always teach in middle school. Think of it as the Science Fair 2.0. Last month alone, over 515,000 hours of videos featuring the infamous and oft duplicated diet coke and mentos experiment were viewed on YouTube. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Currently, there are over 2.9 million videos tagged with “experiment,” with three of YouTube’s most popular mad scientists - The Slow Mo Guys, Crazy Russian Hacker and Grant Thompson - driving a combined 3.5 million watch hours just last year. That’s a lot of lemon batteries, eggs through bottles, elephant toothpaste, and of course, epic explosions!

But experiments on YouTube aren’t limited to the worlds of chemistry and physics. In recent years, pranksters and sociologists alike have racked up some serious views through thought-provoking and sometimes controversial social experiments played out in the real world. The phenomenon first gained traction in 2013 and has been on the rise ever since. Notable uploads like Dove Real Beauty Sketches and First Kiss have become cultural phenomenons in their own right, with the two earning a combined 165 million views and sparking countless parody videos lampooning the originals. And as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

From science to psychology and beyond, take a look back at some of the most notable experiments in YouTube history.

-- Kevin Meenan