We explore the revolutionary gene-editing tech now giving humankind the freedom to redraw the blueprint of biological life itself. We investigate not only the tremendous potential the technology holds, whether in the fight to eliminate diseases or in transforming agriculture to adapt to unprecedented climate extremes, but also probe the inherent risks involved and the potential for widespread abuse, dangers that could take our future down a very dark, dystopian path.
Steven 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 shipping community discovered a source of illumination by putting a kid inside a whale’s head. See how a French scientist accidentally discovered how to create neon light, leading to a revolution in advertising. Dispelling the myth of the individual “eureka” moment, Johnson reveals that teamwork and collaboration led the way to the most transformative ideas. Whether, altering the world’s sleeping patterns, giving rise to mass spectator sports, revolutionizing how global business is done or triggering one of the great social reforms in American history, the pioneers of light have made themselves indispensable throughout human history.
The Hubble Telescope, launched in 1990, has captured unparalleled views of the universe, transforming modern astronomy and transfixing the world with its spectacular images. But building this orbiting observatory would prove to be a rollercoaster ride for all involved, requiring engineers, scientists, and astronauts to venture into uncharted territory. From construction to release, from ridicule to redemption, this is the story of the unsung heroes who turned man's quest to uncover the mysteries of the universe into reality.
The car has shrunk the world, increased personal freedom and in so many ways expanded our horizons, but there is a flipside. Fumes from car exhausts have helped to destroy our environment, poisoned the air we breathe and killed us in far more straightforward ways. But all that is going to change. Horizon enters a world where cars can drive themselves, a world where we are simply passengers, ferried about by wholesome green compassionate technology which will never ever go wrong. And it is almost here. Horizon explores the artificial intelligence required to replace human drivers for cars themselves, peers into the future driverless world and discovers that, despite the glossy driverless PR (and assuming that they really can be made to work reliably), the reality is that it might not be all good news. From the ethics of driverless car crashes to the impact on jobs, it might be that cars are about to rise up against us in ways that none of us are expecting.
It began as an audacious idea: to establish a permanent human presence in the most hostile environment known to man -- space. It's a dream that would bring together two former Cold War enemies and lead to the most expensive structure ever built. Discover the inside story of the International Space Station. See how NASA engineers triumphed over decades of seemingly insurmountable obstacles to develop Skylab, Space Station Freedom, and finally the International Space Station.
It's 1961 and the Soviets are dominating the Space Race. President Kennedy ups the stakes dramatically, giving NASA until the end of the decade to land a man on the moon. Led by Wernher von Braun, engineers across America work together to build a rocket that will get them to this seemingly impossible destination: the Saturn V. This is the remarkable story of the engineers who rose to the challenge to build the most complex and powerful machine ever made by man, and the impact their phenomenal achievements continue to have to this day.
In March 2015, Solar Impulse II launched the greatest aviation undertaking of our time: to be the first solar-powered airplane to fly around the world. It was a feat 12 years in the making, and was anything but a sure bet. NOVA follows intrepid pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg - two men bent on pushing the boundaries of human flight and proving renewable energy's potential. Along with a team of brilliant engineers, the two designed and built Solar Impulse from scratch - though top airplane manufacturers told them would be too big, too light, and impossible to control. NOVA follows the team as it overcomes seemingly insurmountable challenges to build and fly the first solar plane around the world.