How We Got to Now
with Steven Johnson

PBS
PBS
How We Got to Now - with Steven Johnson
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6 videos in this collection

Clean
Dirty water has killed more humans than all the wars of history combined, but in the last 150 years, a series of radical ideas, extraordinary innovations and unsung heroes have…
Time
The world today is obsessed by time. Johnson boards a submarine to discover what a lack of natural light means for a sailor's working day and visits Heathrow, the world's…
Glass
Johnson considers how the invention of the mirror gave rise to the Renaissance, how glass lenses allow us to reveal worlds within worlds and how, deep beneath the ocean, glass…
Light
Johnson relates the story of people who take us out of the dark and into the light. Hear about Edison's light bulb, which he didn't actually invent, and learn how…
Cold
Only in the last 200 years have humans learned how to make things cold. Johnson explains how ice entrepreneur Frederic Tudor made ice delivery the second biggest export business in…
Sound
Imagine a world without the power to capture or transmit sound. Journey with Johnson to the Arcy sur Cure caves in northern France, where he finds the first traces of…

Comments (1)

Anonymous picture
Ana Victoria

It’s astonishing how these ideas didn’t exactly make the labor easier but it made their surroundings and society BETTER and how evolutionary it became even during their time. How these ideas blossomed into extraordinary accomplishments that influenced our world in enormous ways.

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Clean
Part of the Series: How We Got to Now
Dirty water has killed more humans than all the wars of history combined, but in the last 150 years, a series of radical ideas, extraordinary innovations and unsung heroes have changed our world. Johnson plunges into a sewer to understand what made a maverick engineer decide to lift the city…
Cold
Part of the Series: How We Got to Now
Only in the last 200 years have humans learned how to make things cold. Johnson explains how ice entrepreneur Frederic Tudor made ice delivery the second biggest export business in the U.S. and visits the place where Clarence Birdseye, the father of the frozen food industry, experienced his eureka moment.…
Glass
Part of the Series: How We Got to Now
Johnson considers how the invention of the mirror gave rise to the Renaissance, how glass lenses allow us to reveal worlds within worlds and how, deep beneath the ocean, glass is essential to communication. He learns about the daring exploits of glassmakers who were forced to work under threat of…
Light
Part of the Series: How We Got to Now
Johnson relates the story of people who take us out of the dark and into the light. Hear about Edison's light bulb, which he didn't actually invent, and learn how an 18th-century ship's skipper discovered a source of illumination by putting a kid inside a whale's head. See how a…
Sound
Part of the Series: How We Got to Now
Imagine a world without the power to capture or transmit sound. Journey with Johnson to the Arcy sur Cure caves in northern France, where he finds the first traces of the desire to record sound -- 10,000 years ago. He also learns about the difference that radio made in the…
Time
Part of the Series: How We Got to Now
The world today is obsessed by time. Johnson boards a submarine to discover what a lack of natural light means for a sailor's working day and visits Heathrow, the world's busiest airport, to try to get timings right at air traffic control. The story of getting a grip on time…
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