NileRed, a professional amateur chemist, savior of students, bane of teachers

March 2, 2022 — by Sam Bai
Photo by NileRed
NileRed explains what is happening in a Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction
Exploring life’s questions one step at a time

Do you hate chemistry? Does your brain refuse to understand the subject? Do concepts like stoichiometry, thermodynamics and titration make you want to physically repulse and clench your stomach?

If so, might I suggest a remedy: NileRed, a highly bingable, chemistry-oriented YouTube channel. While it has the potential to confuse you even more, the channel has one other effect: It will make you want to keep learning chemistry.

Nigil Braun, the creator of NileRed, focuses his content on a wide variety of ideas, from exploring myths and creating dangerous substances to answering important life-altering questions: for example, whether cyanide smells like almonds.

Starting the channel from scratch in 2014, Nigil started with simple experiments like exploring piranha solutions, an extremely reactive solution that quickly dissolves any substance that enters it. As time passed and his channel grew, Nigil began tackling greater topics like turning cotton balls into cotton candy, creating grape sodas from plastic gloves and making deadly chemicals in his parent’s garage.

I was first introduced to NileRed after seeing my cousin watch a video of him demonstrating a sample of aluminum and mercury touching each other. When a bead of mercury was dropped into a plate of aluminum with its outer shell scratched, tiny white hairs started to appear where the two made contact. Soon, the hairs grew into a tree-like structure until the weight of the aluminum hairs crashed down on itself.

One thing that sets his work apart from other educational channels is his ability to explain difficult topics in a way that even complicated jargon can start to make sense. Along with easy-to-follow footage demonstrating what he’s doing, it is easy to become immersed in whatever experiment he is working on.

NileRed also has side channels and fan-made channels such as NileBlue, NileRed shorts, and NileGreen. NileBlue contains all of the smaller experiments that Nigil does such as the process for cleaning up a larger project or explaining about the dangers of chemistry. NileGreen is a fan-made channel that uses an AI Nigil voice changer and clips from NileRed to create parody videos, like “what if Nigil was bad at chemistry” and “Nigil making a nuclear reactor in his parents garage.”

If you ever have some extra time on your hands and you would like to learn some chemistry, then visit NileRed. You will be entertained for hours, maybe even days on end, while learning valuable life lessons (and not-so-valuable chemistry ones!).

4 views this week