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Profile: Making Science Less Intimidating


James Orgill

“One experiment is worth one thousand expert opinions.” This is one of the mantras of The Action Lab, a YouTube channel run by chemical engineer James Orgill. With over 4.5 million subscribers and 970 million channel views, Orgill aims to make science and engineering understandable to the general audience and spread his love for the field to people who feel that it’s out of reach for them.

Orgill grew up in Utah and was always curious about the way things around him worked. “I was always — and still am — a deep thinker,” he notes. “I just really like to understand why something is the way it is and go down a rabbit hole until I get to a point where there are unanswerable questions.” As such, he found a deep-rooted interest in the sciences. Orgill recalls his first time learning about chemical engineering through October Sky, a 1999 biographical film about a group of teenagers that built rockets together. At the end of the movie, it shows what each boy went on to do later in his life — one of them became a chemical engineer. “I remember thinking, ‘That’s an amazing job. That would be cool,’” says Orgill.

When the time came to choose a major for university, he didn’t...

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