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How We Got To Now with Steven Johnson

From Sunday 11 October at 18:00

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.

Presenter

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 5, Series 1

Tuesday March 28 at 21:30

Cold

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

Episode 5, Series 1

Wednesday March 29 at 03:45

Cold

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

Episode 5, Series 1

Wednesday March 29 at 10:15

Cold

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

Episode 5, Series 1

Wednesday March 29 at 15:30

Cold

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

Episode 6, Series 1

Tuesday April 4 at 21:30

Sound

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

Episode 6, Series 1

Wednesday April 5 at 03:45

Sound

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

Episode 6, Series 1

Wednesday April 5 at 10:15

Sound

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

Episode 6, Series 1

Wednesday April 5 at 15:30

Sound

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

Episode 1, Series 1

Wednesday April 12 at 21:30

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

Thursday April 13 at 03:45

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 1, Series 1

Thursday April 13 at 10:15

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

Thursday April 13 at 15:30

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

Wednesday April 19 at 21:30

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

Thursday April 20 at 03:45

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

Thursday April 20 at 10:15

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

Thursday April 20 at 15:30

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

BBC Earth

Be curious. Be inspired. Be amazed.

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South African audiences have access to five BBC TV channels: BBC Brit, BBC Lifestyle, BBC Earth, CBeebies and BBC World News.