How It Began: A History of the Modern World

21 EpisodesProduced by Brad Harris, Historian of Science & Technology

A thrilling podcast about the History of the Modern World. Humanity has been hard at work for centuries to empower itself with better tools and insights, from science and surgery to electricity and the Internet, and this series celebrates the history of those triumphs. Compared to our ancestors, w… read more

episodes iconEpisodes

Context

June 11th, 2018

6:24

I’m thrilled to announce the launch of my new podcast: Context. If you’ve enjoyed engaging in history with me so far, I think you’ll continue to find …

Money: From Barter to Blockchain

May 15th, 2018

52:00

Money is a form of trust.  Credit, not coins, has been the heart of financial innovation.

Communities that have learned how to leverage credit most effectively and facilitate its transfer between parties most …

Measuring Time: The Hidden Mechanism of Modernity

April 10th, 2018

1:10:52

Our submergence in the flow of time can make it difficult to comprehend how fundamental timekeeping technology has been to the evolution of our …

The Enlightenment: From a Medieval to a Modern Mindset

March 5th, 2018

47:53

The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement centered in northern Europe during the late 1600s and 1700s that is largely responsible for establishing our modern convictions concerning the virtues of representative …

The Printed Book: Opening the Floodgates of Knowledge

February 5th, 2018

50:31

We've all heard about how the printing press revolutionized book production. But, the real revolution was in how printed books, as opposed to …

Mastering Metals: From Sticks & Stones to Cars & Computers

January 8th, 2018

59:18

The transition from the Stone Age to the age of metals marks the historical arrival of civilization.  But, how was it that people first learned to …

Coffee: Sobering Up for The Enlightenment

December 18th, 2017

47:40

Historian Brad Harris reveals the correlations between the spread of coffee consumption and the rise of modern institutions.

From science to security, insurance to stock exchanges, and all the way through to democratic …

Refrigeration: From Ice Harvests to Superconductivity

November 29th, 2017

45:33

Historian Brad Harris reveals what empowered us to wield cold. 

While most of the achievements of technology seem based on our conquest of heat, the …

What Defines the History of the Modern World?

November 20th, 2017

6:15

In this introduction to Season Two, historian Brad Harris challenges the growing cynicism toward the ideas of progress and modernity, recalling what The Enlightenment was all about.

Music provided by Zack Hemsey, …

The Theory of Evolution: A Triumph of Wonder, from Coal Miners to Darwin

August 3rd, 2017

45:33

In the Season One finale of How It Began, historian Brad Harris reveals the beautiful history of how life came to know its true origins through …

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