Discovery launches How We Got to Now series

Discovery Channel’s inspirational and entertaining series How We Got to Now , 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.

Premiering April 20, every Monday at 9 pm, How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson reveals the story behind the remarkable ideas that made modern life possible; the unsung heroes that brought them into the world – and the unexpected and bizarre consequences each of these innovations has triggered.

Johnson, a 7 times best-selling author and a big thinker on ideas and innovations, will delve into the intense rivalries, terrible failures and moments of heroic achievement of the men and women who have made the modern world. These are hobbyists and garage inventors, ordinary characters who’ve done extraordinary things; and yet have remained almost entirely unknown.

In a series unlimited by genre or chronology, Johnson’s fascination with conceptual leaps and unintended outcomes will help us make connections we hadn’t thought of before. Johnson’s bold and provocative thesis suggests that the mirror gives rise to modern science and, that beer can save lives. This is the strange, unpredictable and untold story of How We Got to Now.

In the series, Steven Johnson explores the history of innovations over centuries, tracing facets of modern life – refrigeration, clocks and eyeglass lenses, to name a few, from their creation by hobbyists, amateurs, and entrepreneurs to their unintended historical consequences. Johnson examines unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated fields: how the invention of air-conditioning enabled the largest migration of human beings to cities such as Dubai or Phoenix, which would otherwise be virtually uninhabitable; how pendulum clocks helped trigger the industrial revolution; and how clean water made it possible to manufacture computer chips.

Johnson tells us about John Leal and how he deliberately poisoned the water supply of 200,000 people but transformed the way we live. Without authorization, Leal added chlorine into the city’s water and made it safe to drink. Imagine if it hadn’t worked? It would have been written into the history books as mass murder.

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


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