Only a few times in each century, in every field of human endeavour,
there will be some work that is so outstanding it defies comparison.
In explaining the history of science and technology to the public, this
kind of singular event is epitomized by the famous “Connections”, a 1978 BBC TV series by the science historian James Burke.
The basic idea of that series is to show how a chain
of inventions throughout the ages is interconnected to
produce some essential aspect of modern-day life. And one
of the main messages, presumably, is that you could never ever
have predicted these sometimes weird connections that led
to the astonishing technological and scientific progress that we
sometimes take for granted.
“Connections” can be found on YouTube in its entirety
(though this is of course not entirely legal, and the
image quality is just the typical YouTube quality, but
You can find links to the ten “Connections” episodes at the following
link (if that does not work for you, see below):
Note that each episode lasts about an hour and has been subdivided
into 5 segments for YouTube. By the way, don’t be fooled by the fact that
some modern technology of back then now of course looks less
modern. You can easily replace it in your mind by the most
recent gadgets and the story still works…
Here are links to the other James Burke TV series on YouTube:
Enjoy this fantastic series!
Also, if you enjoy the series, read more about James Burke’s latest project, the
“k-web” online knowledge web:
Direct links to “Connections” episodes
Episode 1 — The Trigger Effect
What happens if civilization were to break down? And why
is the plough so important?
Episode 2 — Death in the Morning