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American Innovations

Wondery

DNA science. Artificial intelligence. Smartphones and 3D printers. Science and technology have transformed the world we live in. But how did we get here? It wasn’t by accident. Well, sometimes it was. It was also the result of hard work, teamwork, and competition. And incredibly surprising moments. Hosted by bestselling author Steven Johnson (“How We Got To Now”), American Innovations uses immersive scenes to tell the stories of the scientists, engineers, and ordinary people behind the greatest discoveries of the past century. From Wondery, the network behind Business Wars, American History Tellers, and Dirty John.

DNA science. Artificial intelligence. Smartphones and 3D printers. Science and technology have transformed the world we live in. But how did we get here? It wasn’t by accident. Well, sometimes it was. It was also the result of hard work, teamwork, and competition. And incredibly surprising moments. Hosted by bestselling author Steven Johnson (“How We Got To Now”), American Innovations uses immersive scenes to tell the stories of the scientists, engineers, and ordinary people behind the greatest discoveries of the past century. From Wondery, the network behind Business Wars, American History Tellers, and Dirty John.

Location:

United States

Networks:

Wondery

Description:

DNA science. Artificial intelligence. Smartphones and 3D printers. Science and technology have transformed the world we live in. But how did we get here? It wasn’t by accident. Well, sometimes it was. It was also the result of hard work, teamwork, and competition. And incredibly surprising moments. Hosted by bestselling author Steven Johnson (“How We Got To Now”), American Innovations uses immersive scenes to tell the stories of the scientists, engineers, and ordinary people behind the greatest discoveries of the past century. From Wondery, the network behind Business Wars, American History Tellers, and Dirty John.

Language:

English


Episodes

Dynamite: The Controlled Explosion | 1

4/2/2020
In 1846, an Italian chemist discovered the volatile compound nitroglycerine, the first major breakthrough in creating man-made explosions since the invention of gunpowder a thousand years earlier. But almost everyone who experiments with the compound thinks it’s too dangerous for any commercial application–everyone except for one brooding, obsessed young Swedish inventor named Alfred Nobel. Nobel dreams of harnessing the chemical’s power to ignite an engineering revolution: blasting railway...

Duration:00:36:39

Fighting Coronavirus: How Can We Protect City Life? | 1

3/31/2020
When public health is threatened on a mass scale, we have a long history of working together to take on the challenge. On this new weekly series, Steven will speak with experts from the worlds of health and technology about how the current moment compares with past pandemics, and what the coming months might look like. On this episode, Steven talks with Richard Florida, a bestselling author on cities and urban rebirth. The population density of cities has always been key to driving new...

Duration:00:29:08

Bruce Gellin On How COVID-19 Could Change Vaccine Development | 6

3/26/2020
As the first in a series on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, Steven Johnson speaks with Dr. Bruce Gellin, president of Global Immunization at the Sabin Vaccine Institute in Washington D.C.. Dr. Gellin is also a former director of the National Vaccine Program at the Department of Health and Human Services, and led the creation of HHS’s first pandemic influenza preparedness and response plan. They talk about a very new and pressing challenge: how to speed up vaccine development for...

Duration:00:27:01

Introducing Joe Exotic: Tiger King

3/24/2020
Joe Exotic devoted his life to raising and breeding lions, tigers, and other exotic animals at his Oklahoma zoo. He croons ballads, shoots guns, and puts it all on YouTube. But he’s also made a lot of enemies. And the biggest of all is the owner of a big cat sanctuary in Florida named Carole Baskin. The feud between Joe Exotic and Carole gets messy, vicious, and outrageous -- until both of them are pushed far beyond their limits. From Wondery, comes ‘Joe Exotic: Tiger King’, the story about...

Duration:00:06:06

Organ Transplant: The Heart Race | 3

3/19/2020
In 1967, an unlikely surgeon performs the first human heart transplant – and shocks the world. As others race to replicate his achievement, one surgical team makes a mistake that could spell the end of organ transplants in the United States. Support our sponsors! Policy Genius - In just a few minutes you can find your best price and apply at Policygenius.com. Peloton - Learn more about Peloton’s 30-Day Home Trial at onepeloton.com. SimpliSafe - Go to SimpliSafe.com/INNOVATIONS and you’ll...

Duration:00:47:10

Where Are Past Seasons? | 1

3/18/2020
Hey American Innovations listeners! You might be wondering what happened to some of our older seasons. We’ve moved them to our new premium service, Wondery+, where you can listen ad-free and get access to more Wondery shows. For a limited time, we’re offering listeners of American Innovations a free week of Wondery+. Just go to wonderyplus.com/AI.

Duration:00:00:59

Organ Transplant: A Matter of Life and Death | 2

3/12/2020
By the early 1960s, surgeons have proven that it's possible to transplant kidneys and lungs. Now, with heart disease still the leading cause of death, they've set their sights on performing the first human heart transplant. But first, they've got to overcome the ethical, legal, and surgical challenges of removing a donor's heart before it stops beating for good.

Duration:00:40:08

Organ Transplant: The Kidney Twins | 1

3/5/2020
A century ago, organ transplants were the stuff of science fiction. But a handful of experimental surgeons believed that transplants were not just possible – they had the potential to save thousands of lives. Then, in 1954, a man agreed to donate his kidney to his twin brother – and one surgeon finally got his chance to prove the doubters wrong. Support us by supporting our sponsors! Wealthfront - Sign up for the Wealthfront Cash Account in less than 5 minutes by visiting...

Duration:00:45:19

NBC News presents Into America

3/2/2020
A new podcast about politics, about policy, and the power that both have in shaping the lives of the American people. Into America is hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, Trymaine Lee, and features the journalists of NBC News. For the first episode, Trymaine heads to East New York, a community that experienced more stops than any other part of New York City under Former Mayor Bloomberg’s stop and frisk policy. In order to have a real shot at the Democratic nomination, Bloomberg needs...

Duration:00:07:33

Valium: Mother’s Little Helper | 3

2/20/2020
Within 10 years of Valium’s introduction, people are starting to realize it’s not quite as harmless as they had been led to believe. Patients are building up a tolerance to it, taking stronger and stronger dosages, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they quit. Women, who have been prescribed Valium at twice the rates men have, spearhead the fight to increase regulation. When former First Lady Betty Ford announces her own addiction to Valium, the public outcry against the drug finally...

Duration:00:41:17

Valium: The House That Leo Built | 2

2/13/2020
With Miltown sweeping the nation, pharmaceutical companies around the country want in on the action and vie to create their own versions. At Hoffman La Roche, a brilliant scientist by the name of Leo Sternbach leads the charge. While Roche executives want him to create a copycat drug, Sternbach has bigger ambitions: he wants to invent an entirely new class of tranquilizer. After Roche loses faith in his vision, Sternbach continues his work in secret – and lays the foundation for Valium,...

Duration:00:38:16

Valium: Miltown Magic | 1

2/6/2020
Anxiety. It’s something everyone experiences at some point in their lives, but for centuries doctors had no effective way to treat it. They could send patients on rest cures, order them to do nothing at all, or prescribe barbiturates that depressed the central nervous system, easily leading to overdose and death. Finally, in the mid-1950s, chemists discovered a new class of drugs: the minor tranquilizers. The most famous of these was Valium, which would go on to become the most prescribed...

Duration:00:41:25

Electronic Television: The TVs of The Future | 3

1/30/2020
At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, television manufacturer LG debuted a TV set that rolls up like a poster. It's a far cry from our grandparents wooden boxes with black and white screens and bunny ear antennas. And despite impressive new television tech, many people these days are turning to phones and tablets to consume their favorite shows and moves. Today we conclude our series on the television with Susan Murray, Professor or Media, Culture and Communication at NYU. She joins us...

Duration:00:31:02

MSNBC Presents: So, You Wanna Be President? with Chris Matthews

1/27/2020
Chris Matthews and campaign veterans who have had front row seats to presidential history dive deep into the six most important lessons learned from presidential campaigns that win. Chris and his guests tap into their experience, historical insight, passion for electoral politics, and love for our country to explain why these lessons matter, and how they’ve separated winners from losers. Subscribe today: http://wondery.fm/SYWBP

Duration:00:06:13

Electronic Television: A Great Depression And The World's Fair | 2

1/23/2020
While Philo Farnsworth was building gizmos out of a loft in San Francisco, the Radio Corporation of America was already plotting domination of the yet-to-be television industry under the leadership of a man named David Sarnoff. Sarnoff recognized television’s virtually limitless potential, and he was determined to bring it to the masses — with or without the help of Philo Farnsworth. Sarnoff would rely on inventors like Vladimir Zworykin, who had also figured out how to transmit pictures...

Duration:00:42:38

Electronic Television: The Picture Radio | 1

1/16/2020
The invention of the electronic television was uniquely complicated for its time. So complicated, in fact, that the prevailing narrative is that it couldn’t have been invented by a single person -- let alone Philo Farnsworth. After all, some of the most brilliant minds in the world spent the first quarter of the 20th century working on television systems -- and some even managed to transmit images. But none of those systems were ever able to deliver the quality of images they’d need to be...

Duration:00:39:25

The Year in Innovation | 6

1/9/2020
It's a new year and a new decade, and that means a lot of new innovation and tech to look forward to. But, as we wonder what the future has in store, it's important to look back at the past year and what it has taught us. Author Clive Thompson joins us to talk about the innovations that caught his attention in 2019 and what he's looking forward to in 2020 and beyond.

Duration:00:43:22

Kodak Roll Film: Brownie Boom | 3

12/12/2019
After George Eastman cut ties with his chief emulsion-maker-turned-saboteur, Henry Reichenbach, the Kodak company started to falter. Some batches of film literally fell apart on the shelves. Others seemed fine, but yielded blurry, unprintable photos. Eastman had tried to find a suitable replacement for Reichbach, but no one was able to make a stable emulsion at the volume he needed. Eastman was starting to get desperate. He knew that if he didn’t fix his film fast, his Kodak cameras would...

Duration:00:40:57

Kodak Roll Film: Kodak Fiends | 2

12/5/2019
George Eastman had made technological breakthroughs and forays into the photography market, but his images still weren’t good enough for professional photographers and the photographic process was still too complicated for recreational photographers. Eastman needed to improve his product and simplify his process, but he couldn’t do it alone. His novice chemistry skills had already carried the company as far as they could go. So Eastman reached out to a gifted chemist for help, and made his...

Duration:00:39:08

Kodak Roll Film | As Convenient as a Pencil | 1

11/28/2019
Today, if we want to take a photo, we unlock our phone, aim, and click. It can be done on a whim, without a second thought. We document everything from new haircuts to latte art, cute cats to baby’s first smile. But prior to the 1900s, photography was the exclusive domain of professionals and dedicated hobbyists -- people willing to learn complex skills and spend hours on the craft. Responsible for that shift was a man named George Eastman. Armed with a radical vision for what photography...

Duration:00:38:05