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Understanding the World's Greatest Structures

Everyday Engineering: Understanding the Marvels of Daily Life

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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…
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…
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.…
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…
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?
Ken Burns: Mark Twain
Part of the Series: Ken Burns America
PBS
Mark Twain was a lifelong creator and keeper of scrapbooks. He took them with him everywhere and filled them with souvenirs, pictures, and articles about his books and performances. But in time, he grew tired of the lost glue, rock-hard…
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.…
The Bridge (Constructing Australia Series)
Part of the Series: Constructing Australia
Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, this is the definitive story of how a giant steel arch resembling a coat hanger became one of world's most recognised structures and an engineering triumph. Massive, majestic and breathtaking, the…
10 Towns that Changed America - Towns Designed from the Ground Up
PBS
10 Towns that Changed America focuses on ten "experimental" towns that did not evolve organically over time, but instead were designed (or redesigned) from the ground up by visionary architects, corporations, and citizens, who sought to change the lives of…
CERN - Recreating the Big Bang
CERN is a self-contained, independent research zone -- a parallel universe so to speak. Here the big bang scenario is recreated, searching for the smallest particle. Nikolaus Geyrhalter's documentary gives an impression of the huge infrastructure which makes an institution…
Deepwater Disaster - The Untold Story
Part of the Series: Horizon
BBC
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is one of the world's biggest environmental disasters. Horizon reveals the untold story of the 87-day battle to kill the oil blowout a mile beneath the waves. The Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster sent millions…
Ken Burns: Empire of the Air - The Men Who Made Radio
Part of the Series: Ken Burns America
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…
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…
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 Sewer King
Part of the Series: Seven Wonders of the Industrial World
BBC
Seven Wonders of the Industrial World - The Sewer King - Episode 4 In the hot summer of 1858, a window was opened in the Houses of Parliament and Britain's great government suddenly ground to a halt. Disraeli and other…
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…
The Arrival of Robot Autonomy
Episode 1 of Robotics Series
Plunge into the world of robots with this engaging introduction. When did we start thinking about robots? What three components are responsible for so many advances in robot design? Why is behavioral autonomy so essential to the development of modern…
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…
Egypt and Greece: Pyramids to the Parthenon
Episode 10 of Understanding the World's Greatest Structures
Embark on your tour of different types of structures from around the world and across time. Your first stop: ancient Egypt, and the surprisingly complex engineering of pyramids, including the Great and Red pyramids. Your second stop: ancient Greece, where…