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54m 41s

Sound

Imagine a world without the power to capture or transmit sound. Steven Johnson journeys to the Arcy sur Cure caves in northern France, where he finds the first traces of the desire to record sound. He also learns about the role radio played in the civil rights movement and reveals the Hollywood star who designed a WW2 weapon that would make possible the modern cell phone network.

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54m 40s

Cold

Steven Johnson explains how entrepreneur Frederic Tudor made ice delivery one of the biggest export business in the U.S. and where Clarence Birdseye, the father of the frozen food industry, experienced his eureka moment. He also travels to Dubai to see how cold has led to penguins in the desert. From IVF to food, Hollywood to human migration, the unsung heroes of cold have led the way.

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54m 40s

Light

Best-selling author Steven Johnson tells the story of the people who took us out of the dark and into the light, including the invention of Edison’s light bulb and how an 18th-century shipping community discovered a source of illumination by putting a kid inside a whale’s head.

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54m 40s

Glass

Best-selling author 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. The link between the worlds of art, science, astronomy, disease prevention and global communication starts with the little-known maverick innovators of glass.

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55m 11s

Time

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Best-selling author Steven Johnson boards a submarine to discover what a lack of natural light means for a sailor’s working day and visits Heathrow, the world’s busiest airport, to try to get timings right at air traffic control. Learn how advancements in navigation, the way we work, technology and travel would have been impossible without the unsung heroes of time.

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55m 11s

Clean

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Dirty water has killed more humans than all the wars of history combined, but in the last 150 years, a series of radical ideas, extraordinary innovations and unsung heroes have changed our world. The iPhone, the subway, flat screen TVs and even the bikini are the result of the valiant efforts of the unsung heroes of clean.

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