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Understanding the World's Greatest Structures

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Objectified - Manufactured Objects and their Designers
Explore our complex relationship with manufactured objects and the people who design them. OBJECTIFIED is a look at the creativity at work behind everything from toothbrushes to tech gadgets. It's about the designers who re-examine, re-evaluate and re-invent our manufactured…
Secrets of the Parthenon
Part of the Series: NOVA
PBS
For 25 centuries the Parthenon has been shot at, set on fire, rocked by earthquakes, looted for its sculptures, almost destroyed by explosion, and disfigured by well-meaning renovations. It has gone from temple, to church, to mosque, to munitions dump.…
Ken Burns: The Brooklyn Bridge
PBS
The "Great East River Bridge" was the largest bridge of its era, a technical achievement of unparalleled scope, marked by enormous construction problems, equally ingenious solutions and heroic human achievement. In unexpected and wonderful ways, the Brooklyn Bridge captured the…
Ken Burns: Mark Twain - Part 1
PBS
In his time, Mark Twain was considered the funniest man on earth. Yet he was also an unflinching critic of human nature, using his humor to attack hypocrisy, greed and racism. In this series, Ken Burns has created an illuminating…
Tesla - Master of Lightning
PBS
This program recounts the life of scientist, inventor, and visionary Nikola Tesla, often remembered as more of an eccentric cult figure than an electrical engineering genius. Many of his achievements are still attributed to contemporaries Thomas Edison and Guglielmo Marconi.…
I Dream of Wires
I Dream of Wires is a documentary about the rise, fall and rebirth of the machine that shaped electronic music: the modular synthesizer. The film explores the synthesizer's remarkable history, revealing how innovators like Robert Moog, working at Columbia University's…
Secrets of Stonehenge
Part of the Series: NOVA
PBS
Dated to the late Stone Age, Stonehenge may be the best-known and most mysterious relic of prehistory. Every year, a million visitors are drawn to England to gaze upon the famous circle of stones, but the monument's meaning has continued…
Hagia Sophia - Istanbul's Mystery
Part of the Series: NOVA
PBS
Whether serving as Christian church, Islamic mosque, or secular museum, Hagia Sophia and its soaring dome have inspired reverence and awe. For 800 years, it was the largest enclosed building in the world--the Statue of Liberty can fit beneath its…
Ken Burns: Empire of the Air - The Men Who Made Radio
PBS
For 50 years radio dominated the airwaves and the American consciousness as the first "mass medium." In Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio, Ken Burns examines the lives of three extraordinary men who shared the primary responsibility…
Learning to See and Understand Structure
Episode 1 of Understanding the World's Greatest Structures
How are ideas for buildings, bridges, and towers transformed from sketches to concrete reality? What are the three essential qualities that make a structure great? What's the difference between seeing a structure and actually understanding it?
Rise of the Drones
Part of the Series: NOVA
PBS
Drones. These unmanned flying robots-some as large as jumbo jets, others as small as birds-do things straight out of science fiction. Much of what it takes to get these robotic airplanes to fly, sense, and kill has remained secret. But…
Great Cathedral Mystery
Part of the Series: NOVA
PBS
The dome that crowns Florence's great cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore--the Duomo--is a towering masterpiece of Renaissance ingenuity and an enduring source of mystery. Still the largest masonry dome on earth after more than six centuries, it is taller…
The Rise and Fall of Penn Station
Part of the Series: American Experience
PBS
In 1910, the Pennsylvania Railroad successfully accomplished the enormous engineering feat of building tunnels under New York City's Hudson and East Rivers, connecting the railroad to New York and New England, knitting together the entire eastern half of the United…
Ken Burns: Mark Twain - Part 2
PBS
In his time, Mark Twain was considered the funniest man on earth. Yet he was also an unflinching critic of human nature, using his humor to attack hypocrisy, greed and racism. In this series, Ken Burns has created an illuminating…
Le Cabanon par Le Corbusier
The wooden cabin situated in the hillside of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in the French Riviera was to serve as a model for minimal living. However, when architect and painter Le Corbusier sketched his Thoreau-like hut in December 1951, he did so in…
10 Towns that Changed America - Towns Designed from the Ground Up
PBS
10 Towns that Changed America focuses on ten "experimental" towns that did not evolve organically over time, but instead were designed (or redesigned) from the ground up by visionary architects, corporations, and citizens, who sought to change the lives of…
10 Buildings That Changed America
PBS
10 Buildings That Changed America tells the stories of ten influential works of architecture, the people who imagined them, and the way these landmarks ushered in innovative cultural shifts throughout our society. From American architectural stalwarts like Louis Sullivan and…
Colosseum - Roman Death Trap
Part of the Series: NOVA
PBS
The Colosseum is a monument to Roman imperial power and cruelty. Its graceful lines and harmonious proportions concealed a highly efficient design and advanced construction methods that made hundreds of arches out of 100,000 tons of stone. In its elliptical…
The Transformability of Information
Episode 1 of The Science of Information
What is information? Explore the surprising answer of American mathematician Claude Shannon, who concluded that information is the ability to distinguish reliably among possible alternatives. Consider why this idea was so revolutionary, and see how it led to the concept…
Everyday Engineering - Understanding the Marvels of Daily Life
Look around you. Great masterpieces of engineering are everywhere. As soon as you get out of bed in the morning, you are putting centuries of scientific and mechanical ingenuity to use. So familiar are these structures, inventions, and services that…
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