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How We Got To Now with Steven Johnson

About the show

The power and legacy of big ideas

Discover the little known innovators whose wild ideas and breakthroughs made our modern world possible.

This inspirational and entertaining series presented by world-renowned innovation expert Steven Johnson charts the twists and turns of history, science, business and technology that have brought us to where we are today.

With an exciting blend of location filming, imaginative graphics and stylish action sequences, the series untangles the web of ideas that made each of our ‘modern miracles’ possible.

Discover just how big a role sound has played in the world of medicine, how one man deliberately poisoned the water supply of 200,000 people but transformed the way we live today, and how the invention of the mirror gave rise to the greatest cultural movement of our time, the Renaissance.

Revealing the intense rivalries, astounding fortunes made and lost, terrible disappointments and moments of heroic achievement, it tells the stories of the unlikely people whose passion for problem-solving led to astonishing practical solutions and inventions that changed the world.

Host

How We Got To Now - Profile

Steven Johnson

Born in 1968, author Steven Johnson is one of America’s leading media theorists and an acclaimed authority on the relationship between science, technology and personal experience.

Armed with an Ivy League university education in semiotics and English literature, he published his first book – Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms The Way We Create And Communicate – in 1997.

In 2005, he gained global recognition with Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter, his fourth book and breakout title that provocatively proposed video games and TV advance cognitive skills and intelligence.

In addition to penning nine books to date, Steven has also spent his career spearheading innovation in digital media. He created the pioneering online publication FEED, the groundbreaking forum site Plastic, and the ambitious hyperlocal media site outside.in.

Steven is a contributing editor for the techno-savvy online magazine Wired, and his big-brained, multidisciplinary theories are regularly featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times.

Next on...

Episode 1, Series 1

Monday January 8 at 09:20

Clean

Dirty water has killed more humans than all the wars of history combined, but a series of radical ideas and innovations have changed our world. 1/6

Episode 1, Series 1

Monday January 8 at 13:45

Clean

Dirty water has killed more humans than all the wars of history combined, but a series of radical ideas and innovations have changed our world. 1/6

Episode 2, Series 1

Monday January 15 at 09:20

Time

Steven visits the UUS Ashville submarine to discover just what a lack of natural light means for a sailor's working day. 2/6

Episode 2, Series 1

Monday January 15 at 13:40

Time

Steven visits the UUS Ashville submarine to discover just what a lack of natural light means for a sailor's working day. 2/6

Episode 3, Series 1

Monday January 22 at 09:20

Glass

Steven finds out how glass changed our world as he visits Venice, a hall of mirrors and the Mars-like landscape of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. 3/6

Episode 3, Series 1

Monday January 22 at 13:45

Glass

Steven finds out how glass changed our world as he visits Venice, a hall of mirrors and the Mars-like landscape of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. 3/6

Episode 4, Series 1

Monday January 29 at 09:20

Light

A look at the unsung heroes of invention in the surprising journey of the invention of light - from candle to laser. 4/6

Episode 4, Series 1

Monday January 29 at 13:45

Light

A look at the unsung heroes of invention in the surprising journey of the invention of light - from candle to laser. 4/6

Episode 5, Series 1

Monday February 5 at 09:25

Cold

Steven traces the unsung heroes behind the modern skill of being able to make things cold. 5/6

Episode 6, Series 1

Monday February 12 at 09:25

Sound

Looking at sound, Steven explores the inventors who allowed us to transport our voices over long distances. 6/6

Episode 6, Series 1

Monday February 12 at 16:20

Sound

Looking at sound, Steven explores the inventors who allowed us to transport our voices over long distances. 6/6

BBC Earth

Be curious. Be inspired. Be amazed.

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