Basically, I need to make a quick "Show Me Something Cool" project for my physics class. It could be about anything sciency, that is cool, and that you can explain & demonstrate in class in like 5 minutes. Now, I wanted to do something that related to Audio or Video encoding, such as bit-rate and or bit-depth, however, I've no idea how I will be able to do this while also impressing my teacher. She needs to think its "cool" in order to approve it, however, when I told her of the idea, she said "Sounds boring to me". So, could any of you think of a "woah... thats cool" moment I could do (probably in a powerpoint with videos and audio), or a reason to why this stuff is actually cool? I mean, I know that this stuff is cool, I just can't think of a way to make my teacher approve a presentation of this? :( Thanks guys.

  • 2
    Your teacher is officially the worst. There's lots of really amazing maths and signal processing theory that goes into making cat videos on YouTube look as good as they can while being as small as they are.
    – stib
    May 24, 2017 at 7:20
  • 1
    While not exactly encoding, you might also consider presenting a little bit on steganography. It is closely related to encoding in that it is able to hide messages in the less significant data of encoding so that it doesn't visually alter an image or video, but allows information to be extracted from it. This might provide the "whoa" moment in a more general presentation on how encoding improves information density as people normally find it pretty crazy that you can put information in to an image that they can't see.
    – AJ Henderson
    May 26, 2017 at 14:34

1 Answer 1



Entropy is an important and notoriously difficult to teach (and understand) concept in physics. It's often explained as a measure of disorder, though that's not technically correct. However, from this perspective a video with lots of small particles would be considered to have a higher entropy than a video showing a black screen, for example. Read this for an explanation of the 'confetti phenomenom' and watch this great video by TED-Ed about the general concept of entropy.

Not gonna do your project for you, but you could for example show how the visible artifacts in a video increase when the amount of small particles in it increases (use a constant bitrate for this though). Based on this you can explain related topics such as bitrate, temporal and spatial interpolation and compression in general (read up on how archive recovery files can be used to replace ANY missing part of a split-up archive, cool stuff (though more maths than physics (is physics just applied maths though?))).

Have fun!

  • Thank you. Yes, you've given me what I was looking for! It makes complete sense now, ive watched the video too. Thanks for pointing the way! :D May 25, 2017 at 0:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.