invention

AMERICAN EPIC
Out of the Many, the One

 

Exotic cultures spanning America are captured on record for the first time — inventing new instruments and new cultural identities as disparate voices harmonize in a musical melting pot. The myriad threads of America’s musical tapestry include Hopi priests traveling to Washington to defend their sacred snake dance; an 11-year-old Hawaiian boy who invents the steel guitar; a teenage Tejana shaking the border with a ferocious feminist tango learned from a gum wrapper; the fightingest frères on the bayou turning a lament for a pretty blonde into the Cajun national anthem; and a gentle Delta farmer who sings a nostalgic song of his hometown and inspires the greatest rediscovery of the ’60s folk revival.

 

SECRETS OF THE DEAD
Leonardo, The Man Who Saved Science

 

Leonardo da Vinci is well known for his inventions as well as his art. But new evidence shows that many of his ideas were realized long before he sketched them out in his notebooks – some even 1,700 years before. Was Leonardo a copycat?

 

NOVA
The Great Math Mystery

 

NOVA leads viewers on a mathematical mystery tour – a provocative exploration of math’s astonishing power across the centuries. We discover math’s signature in the swirl of a nautilus shell, the whirlpool of a galaxy and the spiral in the center of a sunflower. Math was essential to everything from the first wireless radio transmissions to the prediction and discovery of the Higgs boson and the successful landing of rovers on Mars. But where does math get its power? Astrophysicist and writer Mario Livio, along with a colorful cast of mathematicians, physicists and engineers, follows math from Pythagoras to Einstein and beyond, all leading to the riddle: Is math an invention or a discovery?

 

NOVA
The Great Math Mystery

 

NOVA leads viewers on a mathematical mystery tour – a provocative exploration of math’s astonishing power across the centuries. We discover math’s signature in the swirl of a nautilus shell, the whirlpool of a galaxy and the spiral in the center of a sunflower. Math was essential to everything from the first wireless radio transmissions to the prediction and discovery of the Higgs boson and the successful landing of rovers on Mars. But where does math get its power? Astrophysicist and writer Mario Livio, along with a colorful cast of mathematicians, physicists and engineers, follows math from Pythagoras to Einstein and beyond, all leading to the riddle: Is math an invention or a discovery?

 

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
Edison

The holder of more patents than any other inventor in history, Thomas Alva Edison had amassed a fortune and achieved glory as the genius behind such revolutionary inventions as sound recording, motion pictures and electric light. This film offers new perspectives on the man and his milieu, and illuminates the nature of inventing and its role in turn-of-the century America’s rush to the future.

 

 

NOVA
Ben Franklin’s Balloons

 

The first stage in the adventure of human flight began with daring inventors and aeronauts in 18th-century Paris, where a handful of brilliant and colorful pioneers developed all the essential features of today’s hot air and gas balloons. Their exploits fascinated Benjamin Franklin, who was serving in Paris as the American ambassador. To explore this burst of innovation, NOVA re-creates key flights, including the world’s first manned voyage on November 21, 1783. A descendant of the Montgolfier brothers, who invented the hot-air balloon, will join a team to build an accurate replica of the fragile paper and canvas craft using 18th-century tools and materials. NOVA evokes the thrilling and daunting prospect that the balloon pioneers faced as they left Earth for the first time.

 

 

HOW WE GOT TO NOW WITH STEVENJOHNSON
Glass

 

Join best-selling author Steven Johnson to hear extraordinary stories behind remarkable ideas that made modern life possible, the unsung heroes who brought them about and the unexpected and bizarre consequences each of these innovations triggered.

 

Glass
Steven 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 the death penalty, a physics teacher who liked to fire molten glass from a crossbow and a scientist whose tinkering with a glass lens allowed 600 million people to see a man set foot on the moon. The link between the worlds of art, science, astronomy, disease prevention and global communication starts with the little-known maverick innovators of glass.