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How We Got to Now
How We Got to Now

How We Got to Now

Learn about the remarkable ideas that made modern life possible.

4m 26s

Measuring Sound

The high levels of noise pollution in New York City instigated the formation of a noise abatement commission. Steven explains how innovator Harvey Fletcher became part of this movement and created a roving 'noise laboratory' that measured the amount of sound on the streets of the city.

0m 31s

Preview of 'Cold'

In the episode 'Cold', Steven travels to the farthest points on earth to explain how innovators experimented with ways to control the creation and preservation of cold climates and products.

0m 43s

Preview of Light

Host Steven Johnson explores how light has altered sleeping patterns, architecture and more.

2m 51s

The Story of Standardized Time

Just 150 years ago, America had so many different timezones it was incredibly complicated to travel from one state to the other. In this clip from 'Time', Steven introduces the railroad clerk who created the method of standardized time still used today.

0m 43s

Preview of Clean

Host Steven Johnson reveals how clean water has changed our world and the way we live our lives.

4m 55s

The Development of Chlorine

When the toilet was first invented, it overwhelmed water systems and caused a real threat to public health. Here, Steven describes the story of how inventor John Leal doggedly pursued his idea to use chlorine to purify water.

4m 58s

The Development of the Ice Trade

In this clip from the episode 'Cold', Steven tells the story of the creation of the ice trade by a young, wealthy lawyer named Frederick Tudor. Travelling around America in the incessant heat, Frederick had the idea of bringing something cold to hot places.

2m 50s

About How We Got To Now

Best-selling author and host Steven Johnson explains his new 6-part series and what he hopes viewers take away from it.

3m 49s

Steven's Memorable Moments

From beautiful Hawaii to Windy Chicago, from the icy temperature of Quebec to the Dubai desert heat, host Steven Johnson traveled the world in his new series. Through the good, the bad and the ugly, see him recount his most memorable moments.

4m 59s

The invention of the light bulb

In this clip from the 'Light' episode, Steven explains the life span of the lightbulb, from its conception as a seed of an idea to its birth as a fully-fledged working invention.

3m 24s

About Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson is the Host and Executive Producer of How We Got To Now with Steven Johnson. The author of eight best-selling books, including the recent Where Good Ideas Come From, he also writes for many publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Wired. As an early internet entrepreneur, Steven is fluent in fields ranging from neurobiology to medicine, sanitation t

4m 3s

The Invention of the Microscope and Telescope

The invention of clear glass in the 13th century paved the way for innovations throughout the centuries that followed; most crucially, the development of the lens. In this clip from the 'Glass' episode, Steven explains how glass lenses inspired the creation of one of the most important scientific inventions of 16th century – the microscope.

2m 55s

Sizzle Reel video

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.

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