Skip to Content

Dianna Cowern (Physics Girl)

Dianna Cowern is a popular science communicator.

She is a popular YouTuber and has a YouTube channel by name, Physics Girl and has more than 2 million subscribers on it.


Dianna Leilani Cowern was born on 4 May 1989 in Kauai, Hawaii, United States.

She grew up in Hawaii and she grew up by driving tractors on a farm and surfing, scuba diving and by playing ukulele.

Dianna’s father, Bill, is a tree farmer.

Her mother has a background in accounting and used to own a bed and breakfast and she is good at math.

Dianna has an elder sister.

Love for puzzles & math-

As a kid, Dianna loved solving logic puzzles.

Also, at a young age, she developed a passion for math.

Dianna used to be a topper in her math class and was an A-student but wasn’t good at history and language arts.

At school, she was an overachiever and a teacher’s pet.


Dianna did her schooling from Island School in Lihue, Hawaii and was a salutatorian.

Up until her middle school, she did musical theatre and later, she sang for an a cappella group and also played the piano.

After her freshman year of high school, Dianna studied abroad and went to the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean for her junior year.

Love for physics-

Since her first physics class in school, Dianna developed a deep passion for physics.

As she was a curious kid and as physics answered many of her questions like the reason behind the blue colour of sky and taught her about X-rays, microwaves, gamma rays, radio waves, etc. she got attracted towards physics.

Her physics school teacher, Cathy Jones was very enthusiastic about physics and this enthusiasm rubbed off onto her.

Also, her astronomy teacher opined that the girls who pursue physics to be cool and as Dianna too wanted to be cool, she wanted to pursue physics.

This love for physics is evident in one of her 2007 high school videos.

The logical experiments-

Dianna not only loved the theoretical part of physics but also its experimental part.

She was attracted to the logical experiments conducted in her school to learn new physical theories.

During that time, Dianna also developed an interest for neuroscience but as she found the neuroscience experiments to be nonobvious, she didn’t pursue neuroscience and stuck only to physics.

Later, she also explored many different fields like computer science, electrical engineering, psychology, etc. but ultimately she found that physics suited her the best and decided to graduate in it.

Studying from MIT-

Initially, Dianna applied for various universities like Stanford, Harvard and Columbia but as she was waitlisted there, she joined Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2007.

As she loved physics since her school years, she decided to study for a bachelor’s degree in physics to become a scientist.

Initially, Dianna attempted the Physics for Masochists (8.012) exam and got a D.

As a result, she got demotivated and thought of not pursuing physics.

Adam Burgasser, a physics professor inspired Dianna to not give up and motivated her that she could score well in her second attempt.

Adam and other professors taught her physics concepts and thanks to this, in her second attempt of the 8.012 exam, she was able to get a B −.

At MIT, Dianna researched dark matter along with the professor, Jocelyn Monroe.

Physics with electrical engineering-

At MIT, Dianna also focused on electrical engineering and made holograms and conducted the double slit experiment with fringes of light.

Instead of pure physics, she also focused on electrical engineering at MIT because she felt that by doing this, there would be more job opportunities for her.

So, Dianna did physics with an electrical engineering major.

She passed out from MIT in 2011.

Harvard University-

After graduating from MIT, Dianna joined Harvard University for a fellowship.

Here, she did post-baccalaureate research at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Center for Astrophysics.

Here, Dianna studied low-metallicity stars under the guidance of professor Anna Frebel.

They also looked for the oldest stars in the universe.

Love for coding-

After studying at MIT and Harvard, Dianna realised that physics research wasn’t the most suitable thing for her.

While working on projects at MIT and Harvard, she was introduced to coding and was attracted towards it.

Dianna loved the problem-solving aspect of coding.


As Dianna loved coding, she started working as a software engineering intern at General Electric (GE) and her job involved designing mobile apps.

She worked as a software engineer at GE for a year in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Dianna also worked as a science outreach coordinator at University of California San Diego (UC San Diego).

Then, she also worked at a science museum.

While doing these jobs, Dianna also was working on her YouTube channel by name, Physics Woman (later renamed to Physics Girl).

Becoming a full-time YouTuber-

While working at UC San Diego, in 2014 Dianna participated in the Flame Challenge, a science communications video competition.

As she won this competition, she got featured in the UC San Diego news and one of the UC San Diego alums who was working at PBS Digital Studios read about her and invited her to work with PBS.

So, Dianna signed up with PBS and became a part of the PBS Digital Studios network and as they started sponsoring her, she became a full-time YouTuber.

In 2020, she ended her partnership with PBS Digital Studios and has been working independently since then.

A successful YouTuber-

Now, Dianna is a very successful YouTuber and as of April 2022, she has more than 2 million subscribers on Physics Girl YouTube channel.

She has a team for helping out with her YouTube channel.

Dianna earns from a variety of sources like Google AdSense, speaking engagements (she speaks on science and education) and sponsorships on YouTube and Instagram.

As of April 2022, she has more than 100 thousand followers on Instagram.

Dianna also has a website.

Personal life-

Dianna hasn’t revealed much about her personal life except in a few videos where she said that her boyfriend’s name is Kyle.

She lives in San Diego.

Some interesting facts about Dianna Cowern-

  • She is a nerd and loves running.
  • Dianna hates watching television except for science, programming and documentaries.
  • As a child, she couldn’t play video games but later, she started loving playing video games, especially, The Legend of Zelda.
  • Dianna met Alan Alda when she won the Flame Challenge in 2014.
  • She was featured in APS News, Huffington Post, Slate, and Scientific American.
  • Dianna was also featured in Forbes 2019 30 Under 30 in Education.

So, how are you inspired by the success story of Dianna Cowern?

Share with me in the comment section below.

Featured image credit- Hank Green/Wikimedia Commons

About Author

Hello folks, I'm Naveen Reddy.
I love writing the inspiring success stories of people so as to inspire you.
Enjoy the well-researched, thorough articles!
Every article takes many days of effort; so, why not pay it forward by sharing them and spreading positivity.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.