125 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
    • 4.4 • 15 Ratings

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.

    Lie Detector | Larson's Monster

    Lie Detector | Larson's Monster

    In 1922, a murder case in Washington, DC presents the first opportunity for lie detector results to be used in a criminal trial. But even as lie detectors become more commonly used, one of the device’s inventors begins to have serious doubts about the accuracy of his creation. 

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    • 37 min
    Sponsored: The Way Things Should Be | Carmax

    Sponsored: The Way Things Should Be | Carmax

    The weed whacker. The microwave. Instant noodles. Three simple yet ingenious inventions that challenged the status quo and made our lives easier. On this special episode, we tell the stories of three inventors who, through their visionary products, showed us the way things should be. Presented by Carmax.

    • 27 min
    Lie Detector | The Heart of a Liar

    Lie Detector | The Heart of a Liar

    Humans are shockingly bad at telling whether or not someone is lying. That’s why, a century ago, psychologists and criminologists developed machines to detect lies for us, by measuring blood pressure, pulse, and breathing rate. Their lie detectors promised to revolutionize the criminal justice system. But is it really possible for science to separate truth from lies?

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    • 40 min
    Mission To Mars | How to Land on the Red Planet

    Mission To Mars | How to Land on the Red Planet

    On February 18th, 2021, Perseverance will become the latest NASA rover to land on Mars. To mark the occasion, Steven talks to two of the engineers behind the Mars rover program: Dr. Anita Sengupta, who designed the parachute systems for the Curiosity rover in 2012, and Dr. Matt Smith, one of the flight directors guiding Perseverance towards its landing site.

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    • 41 min
    Mission To Mars | Encore: The Woman Who Put Man on the Moon

    Mission To Mars | Encore: The Woman Who Put Man on the Moon

    Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are preparing to land on the Moon. The whole world is watching live on television. But something is very wrong: Their warning alarms are flashing. There’s only one woman who can fix it: MIT software engineer Margaret Hamilton. 

    This episode originally aired on March 14, 2019.

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    • 43 min
    Mission To Mars | Becoming Martians

    Mission To Mars | Becoming Martians

    A Mars colony by 2040? Children born on Mars by 2050? It still sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but more than ever, it’s within reach. On this episode, Steven talks to engineer, author and Mars evangelist Dr. Robert Zubrin about why putting humans on the red planet isn’t just a scientific and technological exercise -- it’s also a way to ensure that human culture keeps moving forward.

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    • 32 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
15 Ratings

15 Ratings

Peza_8 ,

Great for the interested mind

Awesome podcast. Great story telling, interesting topic selection, I'm a big fan. I would love to have more physics-related topics, I think a really cool series would be the discovery of quantum mechanics - plenty of drama to make the narrative interesting (think Einstein vs Bohr).

Zantsak ,

Dishonest and bitter

I am greatly disappointed by your dishonesty with regards to the first heart transplant. Also your omission of how Barnard innovated new techniques. Yes he died discredited due to his anti ageing cream. But he did have a substantially higher success rate than his contemporaries. It is disgusting how you warped the facts. You should be ashamed.

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