Modern Marvels

About the show

Celebrating ingenuity, invention and imagination on a grand scale, "Modern Marvels" tells the amazing stories of the doers, dreamers and sometime-schemers who create everyday items, technological advancements and manmade wonders.

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Upcoming episodes

Sep 28th
300a

Nuclear Tech

Nuclear technology ranges from applications that are well known, such as nuclear bombs and nuclear reactors, to little-known but fascinating uses in medicine, food preparation and radiation detection. Nuclear research has also spawned a host of ancillary technologies to store nuclear waste, and yes, clean up nuclear accidents. This explores the atom in war and in peace, and we show you the latest in nuclear power generation, and the latest in safety and security measures in force at nuclear reactor sites.
Sep 28th
400a

Bathroom Tech

From tub to toilet to toothpaste, we tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the most used and least discussed room in the house. From the first home bathrooms in ancient India, Roman latrines, and bizarre Victorian-era bath contraptions, to modern luxury master bathroom suites, we trace the history of bathing, showering, and oral hygiene. And we reveal the messy truth about what was used before toilet paper--brainchild of the Scott Brothers of Philadelphia--and why astronauts wear diapers.
Sep 28th
500a

Bible Tech

Arguably the most influential book ever written, the Bible provides a glimpse into the origins of ancient technology and its use to withstand the elements, build great structures, wage war, and conserve precious water. We examine the technological plausibility of biblical structures and machines--including the Tower of Babylon, the Temple of Jerusalem, ancient bronze and iron forging, and shipbuilding skills that might have been employed to build Noah's Ark.
Sep 28th
900a

Oil Fire Fighting

When a burning gusher shoots flames into the air, only a handful of men know how to snuff out the monster. Fighting fire with fire, they place explosives around the flames to blow it out, or douse it with tons of water. The modern world depends on these risk takers, but their industry began less than 100 years ago. Join us for a scorching hour as we review the rich history of this "breed apart", and look at modern heat-resistant clothing, new technology, and regulations that protect oil firefighters.
Sep 28th
1000a

Extreme Trucks

Hop into the cab for the ride of your life as we examine extreme trucks, including: a jet truck that can travel 300 mph; the Baltimore Technical Assistance Response Unit's mobile command truck; a garbage truck with an articulated arm; a concrete pumper truck with telescoping boom and pumping mechanism; and a 4-wheel-drive truck that can convert from mower to street sweeper to backhoe to snow blower in mere minutes. Learn how SWAT, bomb squad, hazmat, and crime scene specialty trucks are built.
Sep 29th
900a

Shipyards

Shipyards are waterside construction sites where the extraordinary takes shape and where some of the largest tools built by humans help create the biggest machines on earth. But shipyards and ships of today bear little resemblance to those of antiquity. From ancient days to the 18th-century Industrial Revolution to the epic effort performed at Pearl Harbor, we examine the shipyard, and look to its future. Will the craftsmanship and practical knowledge of how to build ships disappear in the 21st century?
Sep 29th
1000a

Metal

Metal constitutes the very essence of the modern world; the cadence of our progress sounds in the measured ring of the blacksmith's hammer. From soaring skyscrapers and sturdy bridges to jet planes and rockets, metals play a key role. Our journey begins before the Bronze Age and takes us into the shiny future when new metal structures--engineered at a molecular level to be stronger, lighter, and cheaper--shape human progress, as they have since man first thrust copper into a fire and forged a tool.
Sep 30th
900a

Bullets

From "safe" bullets that stop hijackers but leave aircraft unscathed to bullets that chain-saw through steel and "smart" bullets computer-programmed to hit a target, this explosive hour examines the evolution of bullets from origin in the 1300s--stones and round lead balls shot from iron and bamboo tubes. Lead balls ruled until 1841 when a conical-shaped bullet changed ammo forever. We learn how to construct a modern cartridge, and at pistol and rifle ranges view demonstrations of modern firepower.
Sep 30th
1000a

Terror Tech: Defending The Highrise

Titans that can rise more than 100 stories, they remain a symbol of corporate America--monuments to wealth, commerce, and capitalism. In the days following 9/11, corporate high-rise buildings emerged as a prime target for large-scale terrorist attacks. To defend these giants and those who work and live in them, an army of scientists, engineers, and security advisors set out on a vital mission--to develop a web of technologies to secure corporate America safe against terrorist attack.
Oct 1st
900a

Military Movers

The challenge: Move millions of soldiers and tons of cargo halfway around the world and into the thick of action. How? Use the biggest ships, the widest planes, and the strongest trucks. Today, military planners move men and equipment further and faster than ever. The United Sates Transportation Command, answering to the Department of Defense, runs military transport like an efficient private shipping and travel agency. From the Civil War to US Transcom, we track the development of military logistics.