American Experience • 2016 • 5 episodes • 6h:58m

Tesla

Meet Nikola Tesla, the genius engineer and tireless inventor whose technology revolutionized the electrical age of the 20th century. Although eclipsed in fame by Edison and Marconi, it was Tesla's vision that paved the way for today's wireless world. His fertile but undisciplined imagination was the source of his genius but also his downfall, as the image of Tesla as a "mad scientist" came to overshadow his reputation as a brilliant innovator.

2016 • Physics

The Lobotomist

In the 1940s Dr. Walter Freeman gained fame for perfecting the lobotomy, then hailed as a miracle cure for the severely mentally ill. It was hailed by the New York Times as "surgery of the soul," a groundbreaking medical procedure that promised hope to the most distressed mentally ill patients and their families. But what began as an operation of last resort was soon being performed at some fifty state asylums, often to devastating results. Little more than a decade after his rise to fame, Walter Freeman, the neurologist who championed the procedure, was decried as a moral monster, and lobotomy one of the most barbaric mistakes of modern medicine. American Experience presents The Lobotomist, the gripping and tragic story of an ambitious doctor, the desperate families who sought his help, and the medical establishment that embraced him. From award-winning producers Barak Goodman and John Maggio (The Boy in the Bubble, The Fight), this one-hour film features interviews with Dr. Freeman's former patients and their families, his students, and medical historians, and offers an unprecedented look at one of the darkest chapters in psychiatric history.

2008 • Brain

Silicon Valley

SILICON VALLEY tells the story of the pioneering scientists who transformed rural Santa Clara County into the hub of technological ingenuity we now know as Silicon Valley. The film spotlights the creativity of the young men who founded Fairchild Semiconductor and in particular the brilliant, charismatic young physicist Robert Noyce. Their radical innovations would include the integrated circuit that helped make the United States a leader in both space exploration and the personal computer revolution, transforming the way the world works, plays and communicates, making possible everything from the Apollo program to smart phones, from pacemakers to microwaves.

2013 • Technology

Walt Disney - Part 1

Uniquely adept at art as well as commerce, Walt Disney was a master filmmaker who harnessed the power of technology to tell stories of outsiders struggling for acceptance and belonging, while questioning the conventions of class and authority. As Disney rose to prominence and gained financial security, his work became increasingly celebratory of the American way of life that made his unlikely success possible. A polarizing figure - though true believers vastly outnumber his critics - Disney's achievements are indisputable. In this two-part, four-hour film, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE examines Disney's complex life and continuing legacy, featuring rare archival footage from the Disney vaults, interviews with biographers and historians, as well as the animators and designers who helped turn his dreams into reality. Both an inspiring story and a cautionary tale about the price of ambition, Walt Disney offers an unprecedented look at the man who created a world and built an empire.

2015 • People

Walt Disney - Part 2

Uniquely adept at art as well as commerce, Walt Disney was a master filmmaker who harnessed the power of technology to tell stories of outsiders struggling for acceptance and belonging, while questioning the conventions of class and authority. As Disney rose to prominence and gained financial security, his work became increasingly celebratory of the American way of life that made his unlikely success possible. A polarizing figure - though true believers vastly outnumber his critics - Disney's achievements are indisputable. In this two-part, four-hour film, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE examines Disney's complex life and continuing legacy, featuring rare archival footage from the Disney vaults, interviews with biographers and historians, as well as the animators and designers who helped turn his dreams into reality. Both an inspiring story and a cautionary tale about the price of ambition, Walt Disney offers an unprecedented look at the man who created a world and built an empire.

2015 • People