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Understanding the World's Greatest Structures

Everyday Engineering: Understanding the Marvels of Daily Life

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Ken Burns: The Brooklyn Bridge
PBS
The "Great East River Bridge" was the largest bridge of its era, a technical achievement of unparalleled scope, marked by enormous construction problems, equally ingenious solutions and heroic human achievement. In unexpected and wonderful ways, the Brooklyn Bridge captured the…
Tesla - Master of Lightning
PBS
This program recounts the life of scientist, inventor, and visionary Nikola Tesla, often remembered as more of an eccentric cult figure than an electrical engineering genius. Many of his achievements are still attributed to contemporaries Thomas Edison and Guglielmo Marconi.…
Ken Burns: Empire of the Air - The Men Who Made Radio
PBS
For 50 years radio dominated the airwaves and the American consciousness as the first "mass medium." In Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio, Ken Burns examines the lives of three extraordinary men who shared the primary responsibility…
Secrets of the Parthenon
Part of the Series: NOVA
PBS
For 25 centuries the Parthenon has been shot at, set on fire, rocked by earthquakes, looted for its sculptures, almost destroyed by explosion, and disfigured by well-meaning renovations. It has gone from temple, to church, to mosque, to munitions dump.…
Ken Burns: Mark Twain - Part 1
PBS
In his time, Mark Twain was considered the funniest man on earth. Yet he was also an unflinching critic of human nature, using his humor to attack hypocrisy, greed and racism. In this series, Ken Burns has created an illuminating…
Great Cathedral Mystery
Part of the Series: NOVA
PBS
The dome that crowns Florence's great cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore--the Duomo--is a towering masterpiece of Renaissance ingenuity and an enduring source of mystery. Still the largest masonry dome on earth after more than six centuries, it is taller…
I Dream of Wires
I Dream of Wires is a documentary about the rise, fall and rebirth of the machine that shaped electronic music: the modular synthesizer. The film explores the synthesizer's remarkable history, revealing how innovators like Robert Moog, working at Columbia University's…
Linotype - Revolutionizing Printing and Society
Linotype: The Film is a feature-length documentary centered around the Linotype type casting machine. Called the "Eighth Wonder of the World" by Thomas Edison, it revolutionized printing and society. The film tells the charming and emotional story of the people…
Secrets of Stonehenge
Part of the Series: NOVA
PBS
Dated to the late Stone Age, Stonehenge may be the best-known and most mysterious relic of prehistory. Every year, a million visitors are drawn to England to gaze upon the famous circle of stones, but the monument's meaning has continued…
The Rise and Fall of Penn Station
Part of the Series: American Experience
PBS
In 1910, the Pennsylvania Railroad successfully accomplished the enormous engineering feat of building tunnels under New York City's Hudson and East Rivers, connecting the railroad to New York and New England, knitting together the entire eastern half of the United…
Ken Burns: Mark Twain - Part 2
PBS
In his time, Mark Twain was considered the funniest man on earth. Yet he was also an unflinching critic of human nature, using his humor to attack hypocrisy, greed and racism. In this series, Ken Burns has created an illuminating…
Hagia Sophia - Istanbul's Mystery
Part of the Series: NOVA
PBS
Whether serving as Christian church, Islamic mosque, or secular museum, Hagia Sophia and its soaring dome have inspired reverence and awe. For 800 years, it was the largest enclosed building in the world--the Statue of Liberty can fit beneath its…
Big Dream - Young Women Entering STEM Fields
This film follows the intimate stories of seven young women who are breaking barriers and overcoming personal challenges to follow their passion in science, math, computing & engineering (STEM) fields. Through video diaries and verite moments, each of these girls…
The Science of Structure - Forces in Balance
Episode 2 of Understanding the World's Greatest Structures
Explore how two types of external forces: loads (forces applied to structures) and reactions (forces developed at supports, in response to applied loads): act on structures such as Kansas City's Chouteau Bridge. Also, learn how these forces are related to…
Le Cabanon par Le Corbusier
The wooden cabin situated in the hillside of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in the French Riviera was to serve as a model for minimal living. However, when architect and painter Le Corbusier sketched his Thoreau-like hut in December 1951, he did so in…
Impossible Light - Redesigning the San Francisco Bay Bridge
On March 5th, 2013, San Francisco's skyline was transformed by an amazing sight: 25,000 LED lights that, for perhaps the first time save the 1989 earthquake, caused people to consider the Bay Bridge instead of her iconic sister. How did…
Silicon Run I
Part of the Series: Silicon Run Series
Silicon Run I uses live industrial footage to show the many processes necessary to manufacture microchips, including crystal growth, circuit design, and the wafer fabrication process for CMOS technology. Using close-ups of manufacturing processes and device animation, Silicon Run I…
10 Buildings That Changed America
PBS
10 Buildings That Changed America tells the stories of ten influential works of architecture, the people who imagined them, and the way these landmarks ushered in innovative cultural shifts throughout our society. From American architectural stalwarts like Louis Sullivan and…
Learning to See and Understand Structure
Episode 1 of Understanding the World's Greatest Structures
How are ideas for buildings, bridges, and towers transformed from sketches to concrete reality? What are the three essential qualities that make a structure great? What's the difference between seeing a structure and actually understanding it?
Colosseum - Roman Death Trap
Part of the Series: NOVA
PBS
The Colosseum is a monument to Roman imperial power and cruelty. Its graceful lines and harmonious proportions concealed a highly efficient design and advanced construction methods that made hundreds of arches out of 100,000 tons of stone. In its elliptical…