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Big History

Big History

From the creators of "The Universe" and "Life After People", BIG HISTORY puts a sci-fi spin on history, linking iconic events to our daily lives. For example, we carry the legacy of the Titanic every day -- in our own pockets: every time we make a cell phone call, we use radio wave lanes assigned after Titanic telegraph rescue calls went unanswered. Every time we make a call, we're also connected to explosions from the Big Bang that created tantalum, a rare and mysterious element used in trace amounts in every phone. Without tantalum, phones would have to be 12 times larger. Other episodes will include topics like The Founding Fathers, The Civil War and Ancient Mysteries Revealed, meanwhile weaving in surprising science threads like salt, ice, and ballistics. Every episode of BIG HISTORY will tell stories in a whole new way, by shattering the wall between history and science. It is part of an emerging movement in academics, championed by innovators like Bill Gates.

The Superpower Of Salt
Big History reveals how salt underpins our civilization, launched wars, built monuments like the Great Wall of China, sparked revolutions from India to France.
Gold Fever
This episode asks why mankind is gold crazy, and discovers there's a hard-wired reason we lust after it, and a microscopic explanation for why it shines.
Horse Power Revolution
The horse has been a revolutionary animal in unexpected ways. It has changed how we speak, what we wear, and sets the hidden limit for the size of our most massive empires.
Below Zero
Reveals how cold has the power to turn men into Barbarians, spark history's longest running war, and create the concept of race. When we finally take control of the cold, we learn to dominate the planet.
From the Great Pyramid at Giza to the towering skyscrapers of today, humans have engineered huge constructions for over 5,000 years. How do biology and emotions affect our desire to build megastructures?
World Of Weapons
Learn how warfare has defined traditional history, how bat poop and ancient trees shaped the history of weapons, and link the gun to a change in our bodies that turned us into throwing machines.
Rise Of The Carnivores
The human need for beef has driven history across the hemispheres, but how did we turn an ancient mega-beast into the cow we have today? We trace all the beef on earth back to a single prehistoric herd.
Mountain Machines
Mountains form natural boundaries, create natural defenses, and control our weather. They provide minerals that make civilization possible yet we were never designed to live in their extreme environments.
Brain Boost
It is a story that goes back to the collision that created the Moon and the evolution of life. The key is the molecule that gives your morning cup its kick: caffeine, the most popular drug in history.
Defeating Gravity
Flight takes more than wings. We need the right kind of air, the ideal materials cooked up over billions of years, and forces that are perfect for us to leave the ground without tumbling off into space.
Pocket Time Machine
How does the cellphone in your pocket link to the Big Bang, and even the Titanic disaster? Big History reveals how cosmic forces conspired to give us the tool that has revolutionized the planet.
Deadly Meteors
Impacts from space have made our moon and sculpted the geography of our planet. But just as they created everything we know, they will likely snuff it all out in a fiery burst of destruction.
The code of life, DNA, is the operating system for all organisms, which spawned intelligent life like us who eventually created codes of our own. But is it possible that the universe itself runs on code?
Silver Supernova
Big History reveals how silver's place in our minds was determined by the heat of exploding stars, and how this one metal saved democracy, gave us the dollar, and had a secret power to connect the world.
The Sun
We reveal that ancient sun worship intersects with science, that our bodies are fine-tuned to the 24-hour day, and history is driven by the simple way we circle our star.
It was our first superhighway, the lifeblood of civilization, and gives us 90% of all the power we use today. We reveal how the science behind water is the driving force behind history.
The Big History Of Everything
This 2-hour special crisscrosses billions of years of time and space to show how everyone, and everything, is linked in one universal story.