American Innovations

By Wondery

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Description

DNA science. Artificial intelligence. Smartphones and 3D printers. Science and technology have transformed the world we live in. But how did we get here? It wasn’t by accident. Well, sometimes it was. It was also the result of hard work, teamwork, and competition. And incredibly surprising moments.

Hosted by bestselling author Steven Johnson (“How We Got To Now”), American Innovations uses immersive scenes to tell the stories of the scientists, engineers, and ordinary people behind the greatest discoveries of the past century. From Wondery, the network behind Business Wars, American History Tellers, and Dirty John.


Episode Date
The Birth Control Pill | But Can It Be Done? | 1
00:40:56

When Margaret Sanger opened her birth control clinic in 1916, she knew she was breaking the law. Distributing contraceptives, or even literature about birth control, was a jailable offense. But she didn’t care. As a nurse, Sanger had sworn to devote herself to the welfare of those in her community. And in the early 1900s, that meant doing something about the public health crisis caused by unplanned pregnancies.

At the turn of the century, many women were having babies with no break in between pregnancies. It put them at risk for anemia, and uterine ruptures. Miscarriages were common. Of the children that were born, one in five died during the first five years of life.

To Sanger, the solution was clear: a safe, effective, discrete contraceptive for women—a pill, no bigger than an aspirin. At the time, the idea seemed more radical than putting a man on the moon. And in some ways, developing it would be even more difficult.


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Jun 13, 2019
Molly Wood: In A Changing Climate, How Can Tech Help Us Survive? | 4
00:45:50

Molly Wood has spent two decades covering the tech industry. As the host of “Marketplace Tech,” she demystifies the digital economy and how the world of business and tech influences us in unexpected ways. She came on the show to talk about why she’s drawn to tech world, and the role of tech in one of the biggest issues we face today: climate change.


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Jun 06, 2019
Star Wars' Cinema Technology | The Audience is Listening | 3
00:40:45

By 1975, George Lucas knew exactly what he wanted Star Wars to look like, but what it would sound like was another story altogether. Lucas was tired of Sci-Fi’s typical synthetic and electronic cliches; he wanted a sonic world that felt organic and personal. So he hired a young sound designer named Ben Burtt, and sent him out into the world with a recorder and microphone.

Burtt would need to blend and manipulate his recordings in order to achieve original sound designs, customized in every way to help bring the Skywalker saga to life. Like a detective, Burtt would have to hunt for the perfect buzz, bark, or hum to make Star Wars come alive. And in the process, he and Lucas would help to change the way audiences experience sound in films.


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May 30, 2019
Sneak Peek of Inside Star Wars
00:13:21

In this bonus episode, Steven Johnson talks to Mark Ramsey (host of Inside Jaws, Inside Psycho) about his latest series, Inside Star Wars. If our series shines a light on the technical pioneers who transformed an impossible vision into a reality, Inside Star Wars delivers an intimate portrait of the iconic director behind that vision, George Lucas.

Listen to the rest at wondery.fm/ISWED.

May 29, 2019
Star Wars' Cinema Technology | The Saga Continues | 2
00:43:15

With the success of STAR WARS, George Lucas finally had the independence and power to make movies exactly the way he wanted to make them—which was critical, because the sequels he planned were going to be even bigger and more challenging than the original. The artists of Industrial Light and Magic had barely finished the first film, but now they’d have to top themselves--designing a snow planet, imperial walkers, tauntauns, asteroid fields, a Cloud City, and a 12-mile long Star Destroyer.

From 1978 to 1983, ILM surged forward with the mandate to not only complete the original STAR WARS trilogy, but also expand the company itself. The ultimate mission: to push the edge of what visual effects could be, and ultimately lead cinema from its analogue origins, to its digital present.


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May 23, 2019
Star Wars' Cinema Technology | 6842 Valjean Ave | 1
00:43:15

When STAR WARS debuted in May 1977, it gave rise to a pop-cultural phenomenon unlike any the world had ever seen. The movie was so singular and iconic, and so technically ambitious -- that it almost never came to be.

To bring Star Wars to the screen, new technology had to be invented and existing technology had to be utilized in ways never before imagined. None of the special effects companies in Hollywood could handle the blend of creativity and innovation necessary to bring director George Lucas’s vision to life. So Lucas built his own studio, and forever changed the way movies are made.


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May 16, 2019
Airplane | Rewriting Aviation History | 3
00:40:55

In 1913, the young aviation industry was in trouble. The Wright brothers’ broad proprietary claim on airplane technology—and their willingness to sue competitors—created a legal bottleneck that was stifling the airplane’s development.

Their legal power over aviation stemmed from the idea that they were the first to build a plane capable of flying. But what if they weren’t the first? In early 1914, Glenn Curtiss was presented with the opportunity to test that idea. Ironically, the experiment would end up costing him his place in history.


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May 02, 2019
Airplane | Wrights and Wrongs | 2
00:41:17

Glenn Curtiss may have mastered the technical aspects of the airplane, but in September of 1909, Curtiss found himself painfully ill-equipped to handle the latest challenge before him: the Wright brothers were suing him for patent infringement., demanding he stop building, selling, and even flying his planes.  

While Curtiss was the main target of the lawsuit, the outcome of the case would affect the industry as a whole. That’s because the question at hand focused on the interpretation and application of patent law. Specifically, could any one man--or in this case, two brothers--legally own the air.


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Apr 25, 2019
Airplane | The Flight of the June Bug | 1
00:44:15

Think for a moment about some of the pioneering developments from the earliest days of American aviation: The first pilot’s licence; the first flight from one city to another; the first airplane sold commercially. More than a century later, most people attribute these milestones to the Wright brothers. But the Wright brothers were responsible for none of these firsts. In fact, all of these achievements belong to just one man: Glenn Hammond Curtiss, the father of modern aviation. So why is it that most Americans have never heard his name?


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Apr 18, 2019
Jaron Lanier Wants You to Delete Social Media | 5
00:43:15

Twitter, Facebook, Youtube. The past year has brought a backlash against these companies and others over data privacy and their treatment of speech. Tech visionary and critic Jaron Lanier discusses his take on social media and why he thinks you should delete yours.

Read Jaron’s latest book: Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Right Now.

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Apr 11, 2019
XX Factor | Hedy Lamarr | 4
00:46:51

Glamour. Hollywood. Drama. Although she was known as “the most beautiful woman in the world,” Actress Hedy Lamarr’s greatest life work was far from the silver screen. At the height of her film career, and in the midst of a world war, Hedy invented the basis for all modern wireless communications: signal hopping.

Part of a special series with Smithsonian Magazine highlighting the lives of women inventors to celebrate Women’s History Month. Head over to Smithsonian.com/Wondery to go deeper, or find us on Twitter @InnovationsPod.

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Apr 04, 2019
XX Factor | Margaret Knight | 3
00:46:26

A machine to mass produce paper bags. Seems unremarkable today, but in the 1800s, it was cutting edge. The technology would change everyday life, and maybe, the life of one inventor: Margaret Knight. That is if she could get people to believe she invented it.

Part of a special series with Smithsonian Magazine highlighting the lives of women inventors to celebrate Women’s History Month. Head over to Smithsonian.com/Wondery to go deeper, or find us on Twitter @InnovationsPod.

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Mar 28, 2019
XX Factor | Madam C.J. Walker | 2
00:39:59

The first self-made female African American millionaire is how she’s known. But Madam C.J. Walker’s story is much more than a rags to riches tale of a cosmetics industry mogul. She was an inventor, an entrepreneur, and a philanthropist. Along the way, she faced challenges from inside her own community and found a way to transform them into successes.

Part of a special series with Smithsonian Magazine highlighting the lives of women inventors to celebrate Women’s History Month. Head over to Smithsonian.com/Wondery to go deeper, or find us on Twitter @InnovationsPod.

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Mar 21, 2019
XX Factor | The Woman Who Put Man on the Moon | 1
00:40:33

Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are preparing to land on the Moon. The whole world is watching live on television. But something is very wrong, their warning alarms are flashing and they don't know what it is. There’s only one woman who can fix it: MIT software engineer Margaret Hamilton.

This is the first episode of a special series with Smithsonian Magazine highlighting the lives of women inventors to celebrate Women’s History Month. Head over to Smithsonian.com/Wondery to go deeper, or find us on Twitter @InnovationsPod.

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Mar 14, 2019
Coca-Cola | The Perfect Package | 2
00:42:10

Things are really picking up for Coca-Cola, thanks to its industrious new—and most importantly, sober—owner, Asa Candler. Over the past year, Candler’s sold enough syrup to make half a million glasses of soda. The drink is loved by everyone who tries it, but on the business side, Candler is still just scraping by. To turn Coca-Cola into the sensation he knows it can be, he will have to battle a slew of imposters, take a massive marketing risk, and deal with one very problematic ingredient: cocaine.


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Feb 28, 2019
Coca-Cola | The Cocaine Clinician | 1
00:43:00

In the wake of the Civil War, Atlanta emerged as both the cultural capital of the New South, and the epicenter of its snake oil trade. A shell-shocked populace, haunted by poverty, hunger and disease sought salvation in the dubious cure-all tonics of the pharmacy trade. What they got instead would go on to become the most famous beverage in the world: Coca-Cola.


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Feb 21, 2019
Making Decisions with Malcolm Gladwell | 4
00:47:20

Malcolm Gladwell joins Steven Johnson to talk about innovation, writing, and Steven’s latest book “Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most.”

The conversation was put on by the Next Big Idea Club. It’s a book club hand-curated by four legendary writers: Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Dan Pink and Adam Grant. You can sign up at NextBigIdeaClub.com/AI.

Each season, you’ll get two books that will change the way you think and live. You’ll be introduced to essential ideas about productivity, business, psychology, and more. You’ll also get access to The Next Big Idea Club’s exclusive tools like online video insights, author interviews, and study guides to help you implement these life-changing concepts. They’ve also got an online forum where you can discuss the books and ideas with other passionate learners, Next Big Idea Club curators, and the authors themselves.

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Feb 14, 2019
The Miracle Material | Trials and Tribulations | 3
00:36:43

Horace Day made a fortune off of the vulcanizing process Goodyear repeatedly went broke trying to develop. Now, with the help of the most famous attorney in the country, Secretary of State, Daniel Webster, Goodyear plans to make Day pay.

Feb 07, 2019
The Miracle Material | Things Heat Up | 2
00:37:24

In 1839, Charles Goodyear accidentally discovered the key to rubber. Sulfur alone had proved too fragile, but when he combined it with heat? Durable, stable rubber. Finally Goodyear’s dreams were within his grasp. But that’s when he caught the eye of a New Jersey merchant named Horace Day, and things took a turn for the worse.

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Jan 31, 2019
The Miracle Material | Bouncing Ideas | 1
00:36:55

In a world where materials were limited to wood, leather, metal, and cloth, rubber was something new: a substance that was strong, soft, flexible, and waterproof—but completely undependable. Then along came a 33 year-old hardware merchant named Charles Goodyear, who made it his personal mission to conquer rubber at any cost. 

Jan 24, 2019
Bill Nye Wants to Save the World | 5
00:47:14

Bill Nye tell us how he became “The Science Guy,” why climate change is solvable, and what he thinks is the most important innovation of all time. He’ll talk his new Netflix show, “Bill Nye Saves the World” — which pretty much sums up what he’s trying to do these days. Plus, he shares his memories of Carl Sagan and how to combat today’s anti-science movement.

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Jan 17, 2019
2018's Best and Worst Tech Moments | 4
00:49:33

Crypto woes, Facebook scandals, a Mars lander, and foldable phones. 2018 was a mixed bag for innovation. Journalists Devindra Hardawar, Engadget, and Clive Thompson, Wired & The New York Times Magazine, join Steven to talk about the year in science and technology - and what's to come in 2019.

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Dec 27, 2018
Virtual Reality I VR Gets Luckey | 3
00:34:58

VR is dead. Then along comes a teenager with a vision and a headset and changes everything.


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Dec 20, 2018
Virtual Reality | Simulation Sickness | 2
00:48:33

Atari has assembled the best of the best. They look ready to get VR off the ground but then the company they make a colossal mistake. The mistake’s name is E.T.

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Dec 13, 2018
Virtual Reality I The Sword of Damocles | 1
00:42:23

In the 1960s a group of scientists and engineers had a vision: that one day people could put on a pair of goggles and enter a whole new world.

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Dec 06, 2018
Interview | Stuff You Should Know | 4
00:50:14

An interview with Josh Clark, co-host of the “Stuff You Should Know” podcast. Josh has a new show called “The End of the World with Josh Clark” that looks at those big existential questions we humans can’t seem to settle: Are we alone in the universe? Where did we come from? And, what’s next for us?

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Nov 29, 2018
Conquering Pain | Ether Dreams | 3
00:42:54

As Horace Wells’ life went from bad to worse, William Morton was handed a golden opportunity. At stake was scientific pride and a lot of money. But who will triumph?

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Nov 22, 2018
Conquering Pain | The Swindle | 2
00:39:58

After experimenting on himself, Horace Wells realized that laughing gas might help make surgeries less painful. But his search for a business partner would lead him to a fateful encounter with a petty crook named William Morton.

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Nov 15, 2018
Conquering Pain | The Frolic | 1
00:33:57

For decades, Americans resigned themselves to gritting their teeth through the agony of surgery. And then along came an eminent surgeon, a charming swindler and his hapless mark and changed everything.

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Nov 08, 2018
Preventing Paralysis | And Stay Out! | 4
00:46:18

The polio vaccine may have wiped out the disease in the United States, but the struggle to eradicate it continues around the world. Dr. Rosamund Lewis is an expert in immunization and helps lead the World Health Organization’s initiative for polio eradication.

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Nov 01, 2018
Preventing Paralysis | The Fight Goes On | 3
00:40:16

In 1955, the world received its first viable polio vaccine, courtesy of Jonas Salk. He was hailed as a hero until kids started to fall sick with polio. A bad batch of vaccines was thought to be to blame. But the panic But it was also an opening for a scientist with a competing vision. Albert Sabin warned of the dangers of Salk’s vaccine from the start. The final clash between the two vaccines, and the two scientists, is the true story of how polio was conquered.


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Oct 25, 2018
Preventing Paralysis | Can You Patent The Sun? | 2
00:46:04

Pressure mounts and so does the realization that the fight against polio will be a risky one with enormous consequences for failure. Vaccines contain benign samples of the viruses they’re designed to protect against. If a flawed polio vaccine is tested on humans, many could get sick.

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Oct 18, 2018
Preventing Paralysis | Marching Towards a Cure | 1
00:36:29

By the middle of the last century Americans lived in fear of one disease: polio. The story of the polio vaccine is not just a scientific story- it’s a political and financial one, too. One that would pave the way for medical research fundraising campaigns that followed.  

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Oct 11, 2018
Thinking Machines | Garry Kasparov | 6
00:48:32

An interview with the Grandmaster himself: Garry Kasparov. In 1985, he earned international fame when he became the youngest world chess champion at just 22-years-old. He went on to defend his title for more than a decade. But it’s his 6-game match against IBM’s supercomputer “Deep Blue” in 1997 that will be remembered as a defining moment in the history of chess -- and artificial intelligence.

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Oct 04, 2018
Thinking Machines | Passing For Human | 5
00:45:33

Can a computer pass for human? And more importantly, can a computer beat a human at Jeopardy? It’s all fun and games until we start putting life-changing decisions in the hands of machines.

Written by Steven Johnson

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Sep 27, 2018
Thinking Machines | I Learn Therefore I Am | 4
00:40:56

A leap in the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence causes concern about the dangers ahead.  

Written by Tom Simonite

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Sep 20, 2018
Thinking Machines | Siri-ous Business | 3
00:39:20

The development of smartphone Artificial Intelligence from early government research funding and the first experimental robot in Silicon Valley to the rise of the personal assistant known as Siri.


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Sep 13, 2018
Thinking Machines| How Do You Make a Computer Blink | 2
00:40:15

With six different kinds of pieces, 64 squares to move in, and billions of possible combinations of moves, chess is a good test for a computer. The number of distinct 40-move games is far greater than the number of electrons in the visible universe. For all intents and purposes: almost infinite.

Gary Kasparov is the world’s best chess player. Deep Blue is a computer. It’s humanity v machine. There’s a lot at stake and things turn controversial fast with accusations of cheating, a very human meltdown and a computer that hallucinates.

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Sep 06, 2018
Thinking Machines| Artificial Intelligence | 1
00:41:39

Artificial Intelligence is no longer the stuff of science fiction. And it’s about to get much more powerful: machines that can reason, create, predict the future, even dream. AI is likely to be one of the most transformative technologies of the 21st-century.

This is the first in our four-episode series about the rise of artificial intelligence and humanity's quest to breathe intellectual life into computers. In this episode, we're going to meet the mavericks who first dreamed of a world where machines capable of being smarter than the people who created them.

And what better way for smart machines and their creators to face off in a battle of wits -- than by playing chess?

Pre-order Steven Johnson’s new book Farsighted now before it is released on September 4th.

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Aug 30, 2018
Nuclear Energy | Interview with James Mahaffee | 7
00:40:37

Nuclear Energy is a story that’s included a cursed plutonium core, runaway reactors, a magic neutron wand and Charlie Chaplin.

We've also heard about the missteps. Fake nuclear fusion plants and some overoptimistic claims about cold fusion. In this episode, we're talking to someone who actually helped investigate that last claim. James Mahaffee, an author, nuclear science historian, and a senior research scientist at the Georgia Tech Research Institute.

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Jul 26, 2018
Nuclear Energy | A Glowing Future | 6
00:41:48

This series has taken us from Albert Einstein in the Swiss Patent office to the bombing of Japan, from the monster movies of the 1960s to nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island. Nuclear energy fell rapidly out of fashion, and to many it seemed like the atomic age is coming to a close.

Except maybe it’s not. Because right now there are multi-billion dollar projects underway to turn atoms into energy again - this time through the power of nuclear fusion. Welcome to your future.


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Jul 19, 2018
Nuclear Energy | Backlash | 5
00:40:06

Nuclear energy was once a promising endless, clean, safe energy source. By the late 1950s, that optimism was fading. That was partially over fear of nuclear weapons, but then there was the fallout. Radioactive fallout, dust snowing from the sky after massive desert nuclear tests. Once the public found out, there was no saving it. "Nuclear power is not only dirty and undependable, it’s about as safe as a closetful of cobras.”

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Jul 12, 2018
Nuclear Energy | Meltdown | 4
00:41:21

The first serious accident from a nuclear reactor happened in the United States in 1960. It wouldn't be the last. And in the coming decades, a new word will be used to talk about accidents of these kind, a word that will strike fear into the hearts of people living near nuclear power plants from Russia to Japan to the United States: meltdown.


American Innovations is presented by ZipRecruiter.

Try ZipRecruiter for free by visiting ZipRecruiter.com/AI.

Other sponsors include:

Wix - Launch a professional-looking website in no time for your innovative ideas with total design freedom, industry-leading SEO, and advanced code capabilities at Wix.com

Simplisafe- Protect your home and family today by visiting Simplisafe.com/innovations

Jul 05, 2018
Nuclear Energy | Atoms For Peace | 3
00:41:07

After the war, scientists who’d come to work at Los Alamos went their separate ways. They’d figured out how to destroy cities, but now they wanted to control atoms. The Atomic Energy Commission was created to support nuclear energy experiments, and Eisenhower himself created a catchy slogan to go with the new direction: Atoms for Peace.


American Innovations is presented by ZipRecruiter.

Try ZipRecruiter for free by visiting ZipRecruiter.com/AI.

Other sponsors include:

Wix - Launch a professional-looking website in no time for your innovative ideas with total design freedom, industry-leading SEO, and advanced code capabilities at Wix.com

Bombas - Save 20% on your new favorite socks when you visit them at Bombas.com/innovations and enter code INNOVATIONS at checkout

Audible - Start your free trial and download a free audiobook by going to Audible.com/AI or text AI to 500-500


Jun 28, 2018
Nuclear Energy | Bombs Come First | 2
00:37:53

The Second World War energized research on atomic science and the United States was at the forefront. For one, it had the scientists. Second, the US government was willing to back the research. Third, we wanted the bombs.

However darkly depressing this seems it’s true. Our history of nuclear power is intertwined with the history of nuclear weapons.


American Innovations is presented by ZipRecruiter. You can try it for FREE at ZipRecruiter.com/AI.

Other sponsors include

Wix - Launch a professional-looking website in no time for your innovative ideas with total design freedom, industry-leading SEO, and advanced code capabilities at Wix.com

Simplisafe - Protect your home and family today by visiting Simplisafe.com/innovations


Jun 21, 2018
Nuclear Energy | E = MC Squared | 1
00:47:14

In 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower went on national television introducing a new kind of power plant, one that will transform the world. Nuclear energy and the Atomic Age took America by storm, but this misunderstood technology’s potential has always been in question.

Last series we looked at the building blocks of life, DNA. This time we’re turning to atoms, and specifically to the energy that comes from splitting atoms. We’ll take you to one of the most powerful and controversial energy sources on earth: nuclear energy.

Support this show by supporting our sponsors!

American Innovations is pleased to have ZipRecruiter as its presenting sponsor.  

ZipRecruiter strives to lead the way in innovating talent recruitment for businesses of all sizes. It’s the smartest way to hire. Get a free trial and learn how to hire smarter when you visit them at ZipRecruiter.com/AI

Our other sponsors include:

Wix - Launch a professional-looking website in no time for your innovative ideas with total design freedom, industry-leading SEO, and advanced code capabilities at Wix.com

Hims - Get a trial month of hair loss prevention for just $5 when you visit them at ForHims.com/innovations



Jun 14, 2018
Life’s Building Blocks | Interview with Britt Wray | 7
00:42:56

To wrap up The Dynamo of DNA, we're talking to Britt Wray. You can follow her on Twitter, and visit her website for more. You can also pick up her book, Necrofauna: The Science, Ethics, and Risks of De-Extinction to learn more about De-Extinction.

We’ll be back next week with an all new arc on nuclear energy.

Support this show by supporting our sponsors!

American Innovations is pleased to have ZipRecruiter as its presenting sponsor.  

ZipRecruiter strives to lead the way in innovating talent recruitment for businesses of all sizes. It’s the smartest way to hire. Get a free trial and learn how to hire smarter when you visit them at ZipRecruiter.com/AI

Our other sponsors include:

Wix - Launch a professional-looking website in no time for your innovative ideas with total design freedom, industry-leading SEO, and advanced code capabilities at Wix.com.

Audible - Start your free trial and download a free audiobook by going to Audible.com/AI or text AI to 500-500.

Jun 07, 2018
Life’s Building Blocks | Return of the Mammoths | 6
00:46:25

The human genome project finally allowed us to read the “Book of Life,” the genetic code of living things. But now there’s a tool - CRISPR - that will allow us to rewrite it. With CRISPR, we can change the color of flowers, eliminate diseases, and even… bring back Wooly Mammoths.

We hope you enjoyed our first series, The Dynamo of DNA. Join us next week for a conversation with scientist, broadcaster and author Britt Wray.

Support us by supporting our sponsors!

American Innovations is pleased to have ZipRecruiter as its presenting sponsor.  

ZipRecruiter strives to lead the way in innovating talent recruitment for businesses of all sizes. It’s the smartest way to hire. Get a free trial and learn how to hire smarter when you visit them at ZipRecruiter.com/AI

Our other sponsors include:

Wix - Launch a professional-looking website in no time for your innovative ideas with total design freedom, industry-leading SEO, and advanced code capabilities at Wix.com

Bombas - Save 20% on your new favorite socks when you visit them at Bombas.com/innovations and enter code INNOVATIONS at checkout

May 31, 2018
Life’s Building Blocks | Testing Times | 5
00:38:39

Over the past 50 years, our understanding of DNA has grown exponentially. It took supercomputers working overtime to produce a single genomic map… and now all it takes is a spit sample that you drop in the mail. For about a hundred bucks, you can have your own personal genome mapped. One thing we still haven’t figured out is what to DO with all of that information. It’s been used to map family trees, trace diseases, exonerate innocents and catch serial killers - and that’s only the beginning. 


Support us by supporting our sponsors!

American Innovations is pleased to have ZipRecruiter as its presenting sponsor.  

ZipRecruiter strives to lead the way in innovating talent recruitment for businesses of all sizes. It’s the smartest way to hire. Get a free trial and learn how to hire smarter when you visit them at ZipRecruiter.com/AI

Our other sponsors include:

Wix - Launch a professional-looking website in no time for your innovative ideas with total design freedom, industry-leading SEO, and advanced code capabilities at Wix.com

Bombas - Save 20% on your new favorite socks when you visit them at Bombas.com/innovations and enter code INNOVATIONS at checkout

May 24, 2018
Life’s Building Blocks | The Race for the Genome | 4
00:45:27

The path to understand genetics was rife squabbles and competition among scientists vying to discover genes, chromosomes, and the structure of DNA. The tussles had been going on for a century.

But the 1980s introduced an even bigger grudge match: who’d be the first to map the entire human genetic code?

This race would get downright nasty before it was done. Along the way there would be a lot of good science. But the science often took a back seat, as politics, money, and egos all got in the way.

Support us by supporting our sponsors!

American Innovations is pleased to have ZipRecruiter as its presenting sponsor.  

ZipRecruiter strives to lead the way in innovating talent recruitment for businesses of all sizes. It’s the smartest way to hire. Get a free trial and learn how to hire smarter when you visit them at ZipRecruiter.com/AI

Our other sponsors include:

Wix - Launch a professional-looking website in no time for your innovative ideas with total design freedom, industry-leading SEO, and advanced code capabilities at Wix.com

Hims - Get started today and get a full trial month for just $5 when you go to ForHims.com/innovations

May 17, 2018
Life’s Building Blocks | Double Helix | 3
00:43:22

From your high school science classes you may know the names Watson and Crick. If you took any more biology classes you may have heard of Wilkins, but a third name is often overlooked: Rosalind Franklin. Together, they took blurry photographs of DNA goo and discovered “the secret to life.”


Support us by supporting our sponsors!

American Innovations is pleased to have ZipRecruiter as its presenting sponsor.  

ZipRecruiter strives to lead the way in innovating talent recruitment for businesses of all sizes. It’s the smartest way to hire. Get a free trial and learn how to hire smarter when you visit them at ZipRecruiter.com/AI


May 10, 2018
Life’s Building Blocks| Civil War | 2
00:45:10

When Gregor Mendel discovered genes, he had no idea that his discoveries with pea plants would outlive him. He was just an isolated monk playing in his garden. And his ideas collected dust in university libraries for 40 years until a biologist named William Bateson discovered his work. And by the end of the first page, Bateson knew Mendel’s ideas would change the world. He said, “An exact determination of the laws of heredity will probably work more change in man’s outlook of the world, and in his power over nature, than in any other advance in natural knowledge that can be foreseen.”


Support us by supporting our sponsors!

American Innovations is pleased to have ZipRecruiter as its presenting sponsor.  

ZipRecruiter strives to lead the way in innovating talent recruitment for businesses of all sizes. It’s the smartest way to hire. Get a free trial and learn how to hire smarter when you visit them at ZipRecruiter.com/AI

Our other sponsors include:

Casper - Get $50 toward select mattresses by going to Casper.com/AI


May 10, 2018
Life’s Building Blocks | Lost Pioneers | 1
00:42:55

In 2000, President Bill Clinton held a press conference to share a milestone for humanity. He said, “we will all see the unbelievable capacity to be noble.” Science and technology embrace this idea, leading to the incredible innovations that change the world, and yes, even humanity. This is American Innovations, a series that will look at the most important innovations of the last century, and go into the lives of the people behind those innovations.

That great milestone Clinton was referencing? That was the mapping of the human genome. For a long time, we didn’t know what was actually buried deep inside our cells that made humans humans. Now we know it’s much more than a simple molecule. DNA has revolutionized society, creating new fields of research, business - even changing how we catch criminals. This is The Dynamo of DNA from American Innovations.


Support us by supporting our sponsors!

American Innovations is pleased to have ZipRecruiter as its presenting sponsor.  

ZipRecruiter strives to lead the way in innovating talent recruitment for businesses of all sizes. It’s the smartest way to hire. Get a free trial and learn how to hire smarter when you visit them at ZipRecruiter.com/AI

Our other sponsors include:

Wix - Launch a professional-looking website in no time for your innovative ideas with total design freedom, industry-leading SEO, and advanced code capabilities at Wix.com

Audible - Start a 30-day trial and first audio book is free when you go to Audible.com/AI or text INNOVATIONS to 500-500

May 10, 2018
Introducing American Innovations | 1
00:02:08

The leaps of mankind, as they happened.

Premieres May 10.

Apr 26, 2018