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

Jun 21st
100a

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.
Jun 21st
200a

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.
Jun 21st
300a

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.
Jun 21st
400a

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.
Jun 21st
500a

Loading Docks

Each day ships, trains, trucks, and planes haul supplies that keep store shelves full and factories moving. At every stop there's a loading dock--an interface where shipping and storage hook up. You may not think much about a loading dock, but to the transportation industry it's the very heart of their business. From ancient times to tomorrow's lights out facility, where computers and machines will store, sort, retrieve, and load stock without human interaction, we deliver the goods on loading docks.
Jun 21st
600a

Terror Tech: Civilian

Witness the construction of a terrorist-proof safe room. Discover how your windows might someday act as biological weapons detectors. Learn how scientists are protecting the food you eat and water you drink. In the biggest technological push since the space race, inventors are creating cutting-edge devices, gadgets, and gizmos to keep you and your family--and even your pets--safe. Find out what technology can do to protect you, and how you can use technology to protect yourself.
Jun 21st
700a

Breaking The Sound Barrier

For decades, the sound barrier loomed as an impenetrable wall against manned flight that buffeted planes with shock waves as they approached the speed of sound. Scientists thought the barrier couldn't be breached--until the development of jet technology and rocket fuel at the end of WWII. This is the dramatic story, told through the eyes of many who were there, of the work leading up to October 10, 1947, when 24-year-old test pilot Chuck Yeager smashed through the sound barrier in a Bell XS-1 aircraft.
Jun 22nd
600a

Logging Tech

When Paul Bunyan cried "Timber!", he never foresaw today's cutting-edge, controversial industry that feeds a ravenous, lumber-crazy world--a world striving to protect nature while devouring it. Come into the woods to see how he-men and hi-tech combine forces to topple 4-billion trees annually; journey to 19th-century America, when lumberjacks cut a legend as large as the timber they felled; and travel with a tree from stump to sawmill and learn its non-wood uses--from aspirin to film to toothpaste!
Jun 22nd
700a

Exterminator, The

In a raging war for control of Earth, occupying forces buzz and skitter, with some out to draw blood! Termites, mosquitoes, rats, mice, ants, and cockroaches have spread damage, disease, and death for millions of years. As we trace pest control from ancient humble beginnings to Medieval Black Plague, from billion-dollar pesticide business to holistic Integrated Pest Management, we meet the foot soldier in the battle between man and bug--today's high-tech and ecologically aware exterminator.
Jun 23rd
600a

Torture Devices

For more than 3,000 years, emperors and generals, dictators and police, criminals, clerics, and even medical doctors have created and used a vast array of torture devices--everything from the ancient Greeks' Brazen Bull, which slowly barbecued the victim, to the elaborate mechanical apparatuses of the Spanish Inquisition. A medical doctor who specializes in victims of torture reveals how the human body responds to their use--from the earliest devices to the more modern.