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The video encyclopedia was a collection of video files that showed the viewers how to perform an action or create something for scientific value or understanding.
Each of these simple science experiments made use of everyday objects and/or substances that could be found around the home.
Behind the scenes
Each video was accessed by Emmett Brown during the live-action segments of Back to the Future: The Animated Series as a science experiment, performed by Bill Nye. In narration, Doc — portrayed by Christopher Lloyd in a live-action segment — explained the principle as Nye silently carried out the experiment.
- "E" for Electromagnet. In "Brothers", an electromagnet is made using two batteries and a wire wrapped about a screwdriver.
- "H" for Homemade Cannon. In "Mac the Black", Doc notes that the earliest cannons consisted of a bell, gunpowder, and a projectile. Doc and Nye show a solution of water and vinegar in a 2-liter bottle. Nye adds a paper towel with baking soda, and plugs the bottle with a decorative cork, and the chemical reaction produces carbon dioxide that fires the cannon.
- "L" for Lemon Battery. In "Forward to the Past", Doc and Nye use three lemons, aluminum foil, pieces of copper, and wiring, to generate enough power to start a small clock.
- "O" for Orbit. In "Put on Your Thinking Caps, Kids! It's Time for Mr. Wisdom!", Doc is speaking from outer space, while dressed as an astronaut. He's repairing an orbiting satellite in return for free premium cable service. After Doc explains how a satellite orbits the earth, he and Nye explain inertia with a set of coins, and centripetal force and centrifugal force with clay, string, a tube, and a baseball.
- "S" for Static Electricity. In "Go Fly a Kite", Doc shows static electricity holding together two socks, while Nye shows positive and negative charges attracting two balloons. As Doc leaves, it turns out that he has socks clinging to the back of his lab coat.
- "V" for Vacuum. In "Solar Sailors", Doc and Nye demonstrate a vacuum, using a water balloon, a glass container, and matches. The combustion of oxygen in the bottle creates a vacuum that pulls the balloon into the bottle.
- "W" for Water Pressure. In "Witchcraft", a demonstration is made by Nye with a 2-liter bottle filled with water. A hole in at the lower end of the bottle shoots out water at higher pressure than holes at the top. Doc repeats the experiment with a larger container of water.
- [Untitled] In "Bravelord and the Demon Monstrux", Doc and Nye demonstrate the plastic cup telephone. Doc explains the principle behind sound being carried along a taut string between two plastic cups.