61 episodes

DNA science. Artificial intelligence. Smartphones and 3D printers. Science and technology have transformed the world we live in. But how did we get here? It wasn’t by accident. Well, sometimes it was. It was also the result of hard work, teamwork, and competition. And incredibly surprising moments.
Hosted by bestselling author Steven Johnson (“How We Got To Now”), American Innovations uses immersive scenes to tell the stories of the scientists, engineers, and ordinary people behind the greatest discoveries of the past century. From Wondery, the network behind Business Wars, American History Tellers, and Dirty John.

American Innovations Wondery

    • Science

DNA science. Artificial intelligence. Smartphones and 3D printers. Science and technology have transformed the world we live in. But how did we get here? It wasn’t by accident. Well, sometimes it was. It was also the result of hard work, teamwork, and competition. And incredibly surprising moments.
Hosted by bestselling author Steven Johnson (“How We Got To Now”), American Innovations uses immersive scenes to tell the stories of the scientists, engineers, and ordinary people behind the greatest discoveries of the past century. From Wondery, the network behind Business Wars, American History Tellers, and Dirty John.

    Fighting Coronavirus: When Will the Lockdown End? | 2

    Fighting Coronavirus: When Will the Lockdown End? | 2

    Reading the forecast models that track and predict the spread of the coronavirus can feel like a glimpse into the future. And epidemiologists – the scientists behind these models – have suddenly become the most important figures in this fight. Dr. Tara Smith, an epidemiologist and professor at the Kent State University College of Public Health, talks with Steven about what most people misunderstand about these models, whether there’s an end in sight for social distancing, and why the public health sector is our “invisible shield.”

    New episodes of “Fighting Coronavirus” will publish here every Tuesday, or you can listen and subscribe at https://wondery.com/shows/fighting-coronavirus/

    • 23 min
    Dynamite: The Controlled Explosion | 1

    Dynamite: The Controlled Explosion | 1

    In 1846, an Italian chemist discovered the volatile compound nitroglycerine, the first major breakthrough in creating man-made explosions since the invention of gunpowder a thousand years earlier. But almost everyone who experiments with the compound thinks it’s too dangerous for any commercial application–everyone except for one brooding, obsessed young Swedish inventor named Alfred Nobel. 

    Nobel dreams of harnessing the chemical’s power to ignite an engineering revolution: blasting railway tunnels, digging out mines and canals…. But as Nobel’s quest to tame nitroglycerine becomes increasingly central to his family’s livelihood, it also repeatedly puts his own life in danger.

    • 34 min
    Fighting Coronavirus: How Can We Protect City Life? | 1

    Fighting Coronavirus: How Can We Protect City Life? | 1

    When public health is threatened on a mass scale, we have a long history of working together to take on the challenge. On this new weekly series, Steven will speak with experts from the worlds of health and technology about how the current moment compares with past pandemics, and what the coming months might look like. 

    On this episode, Steven talks with Richard Florida, a bestselling author on cities and urban rebirth. The population density of cities has always been key to driving new ideas, new collaborations, and new social movements. But today, as the coronavirus spreads, that density is creating danger. How can cities protect their way of life, and how they can come out of this crisis even stronger than before?

    New episodes of “Fighting Coronavirus” will publish here every Tuesday, or you can listen and subscribe at https://wondery.com/shows/fighting-coronavirus/

    Read Richard Florida and Steven Pedigo’s 10-Point Preparedness Plan for Cities.

    • 26 min
    Bruce Gellin On How COVID-19 Could Change Vaccine Development | 6

    Bruce Gellin On How COVID-19 Could Change Vaccine Development | 6

    As the first in a series on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, Steven Johnson speaks with Dr. Bruce Gellin, president of Global Immunization at the Sabin Vaccine Institute in Washington D.C.. Dr. Gellin is also a former director of the National Vaccine Program at the Department of Health and Human Services, and led the creation of HHS’s first pandemic influenza preparedness and response plan. They talk about a very new and pressing challenge: how to speed up vaccine development for COVID-19.

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    • 25 min
    Introducing Joe Exotic: Tiger King

    Introducing Joe Exotic: Tiger King

    Joe Exotic devoted his life to raising and breeding lions, tigers, and other exotic animals at his Oklahoma zoo. He croons ballads, shoots guns, and puts it all on YouTube. But he’s also made a lot of enemies. And the biggest of all is the owner of a big cat sanctuary in Florida named Carole Baskin. The feud between Joe Exotic and Carole gets messy, vicious, and outrageous -- until both of them are pushed far beyond their limits. From Wondery, comes ‘Joe Exotic: Tiger King’, the story about two people who want to save animals and destroy each other. This series was previously released as the second season of "Over My Dead Body." But on the new feed, we'll also be releasing never-before-aired, exclusive interviews and details with some of the most fascinating characters in this saga. For the full episode go to: wondery.fm/AIjoeexotic.

    • 5 min
    Organ Transplant: The Heart Race | 3

    Organ Transplant: The Heart Race | 3

    In 1967, an unlikely surgeon performs the first human heart transplant – and shocks the world. As others race to replicate his achievement, one surgical team makes a mistake that could spell the end of organ transplants in the United States.




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    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

@macjama ,

Missing seasons

Great podcast. Very interesting and informative. But where are the missing seasons. Season 6, then 8 through 12 I believe aren’t in the feed. What gives?

ZedEyeSee ,

Good stories, but dialogue could be improved

I’m listening to my first episode about the birth control pill and have one major problem. I really like the storytelling style and production value. I can’t stand the narrator playing the role of all characters. He has dialogues with himself using slightly different voices for different people. The first time I heard one between a man and woman (both played by the male narrator) I found it slightly confusing. If you can’t hire people to read the dialogue portions, find a different way to tell the story.

T100termin8r ,

Kudos for Wondery Podcast

This show is fantastic. I started listening about two weeks ago to the series on Kodak. Now I am hooked and burning through the American Innovations series. I am particularly the Kellogg’s brother’s story.
Keep up the great work!

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