Physics professor wins Emmy for YouTube video

The University News Service video "The Science of Watchmen" featuring Professor James Kakalios recently received a regional Emmy Award in the "Advanced Media: Arts/Entertainment" category. The video has received more than 1.5 million views on YouTube, making it one of the most widely viewed videos ever in higher education.

Kakalios was tapped by Warner Bros. as a science consultant for the popular comic book movie, "Watchmen" and appears on the Director's Cut Blu-ray in a featurette discussing the physics of Dr. Manhattan. The University's "The Science of Watchmen" video looks at his involvement with the film and the physics behind the movie's extraordinary characters.

"If anyone had asked me back in grad school if I could imagine winning an Emmy for a YouTube video, I would have answered, 'What's a YouTube?'" said Kakalios. "This award is a testament to the University News Service who conceived and created the video."

Watch the video.

The video was produced by the University News Service team. Award winners from the News Service include, Daniel Wolter, Justin Ware, Elizabeth Giorgi and Drew Swain.

Here is the transcript of Kakalios' acceptance speech:

I'm Professor Jim Kakalios. Don't worry. I won't be giving a lecture. I wish to thank Justin Ware and Elizabeth Giorgi at the University of Minnesota, who conceived and created this video, as well as Brian Andersen, who provided the physics demos we used. I would like to thank the Academy-both the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences, and Ann Merchant, who put me in touch with the Watchmen crew, and everyone on Watchmen and at Warner Bros. for their first-class treatment of me. And I wish to thank my wife and family, for their love and support. I am a lucky man.

Recognized by his colleagues for his research in condensed matter physics, most students know Kakalios for his popular freshman seminar "Everything I Know About Physics I Learned By Reading Comic Books." A professor in the Institute of Technology's School of Physics and Astronomy since 1988, he is also the author of the science book "The Physics of Superheroes."

The Upper Midwest Emmys is an awards event celebrating regional excellence in television production. The Emmy Awards are put on by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and recognize a variety of categories including news, sports and documentary programming, as well as individual talent. The Upper Midwest region includes Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, western Wisconsin and most of Iowa.

October 5, 2009