Breakthrough: The Ideas That Changed the World

Polybius Square

Polybius, a Greek statesman and tutor to the Roman general, Scipio Africanus, sees that the Romans' method of signaling on the battlefield is limited to a small number of messages. He decides to invent a code so words can be exchanged between battalions freely. The result: the first long distance messaging system.

Polybius Square

1m 42s

  • The Smartphone: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Smartphone

    S1 E6 - 54m 51s

    Dial in to the fascinating history of the smartphone, from its roots in Morse Code to 2007, when Apple unveiled the first-ever iPhone. Plus, see how the next generation of smartphones will allow us to communicate through them just by thinking.

  • The Rocket: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Rocket

    S1 E5 - 54m 51s

    Learn the explosive history of the rocket, from its origin in ancient China, to its use as a weapon of war, to how adding hydrogen allowed it to carry astronauts all the way to the moon.

  • The Car: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Car

    S1 E4 - 54m 51s

    Go for a ride through the 9,000-year history of the car, from its roots in dogsleds to Henry Ford’s affordable and assembly line-built Model T, and meet the scientists working on the next generation of self-driving automobiles.

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