Want to see what happens to California when the big one hits?

For the less scientifically inclined among us, reading about nuclear reactors or 3-D modeling might seem daunting. So how about watching such topics instead? Wired has put together a collection of short clips, titled Best Science Visualization Videos of 2009, that makes it easy and fun to dip into the sciencey side of life.

This video assembly highlights the year’s best computer models, which are helping scientists understand such phenomena as how waves break, how a supernova explodes and how carbon monoxide builds and abates over the course of a year. Our favorite is the first video of the series, which demonstrates how a high-magnitude earthquake along the San Andreas Fault would impact Southern California. (Hint: It’s not good.) But the others are all mesmerizing in their own way, full of color bursts and movement that will both educate and entertain you, for a few minutes at least.

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Want to see what happens to California when the big one hits?