Through incredible, lesser-known stories of familiar history, the PBS series Breakthrough – The Ideas That Changed the World captures the secrets of today’s world through surprising accidents, colorful characters, and moments of joy and despair.
Breakthrough presents six iconic modern objects through thousands of years of historical precedents. What discoveries came first? Which inventions and ideas paved the way – and where, and why?
In the fourth episode, The Car, explore the history of the automobile, from its roots in dogsleds to scientists working on the next generation of self-driving cars.
Breakthrough – The Ideas That Changed The World: The Car premieres 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 8 on Wisconsin Public Television.
Read on to discover how 9,000 years of innovation set the stage for a machine that continues to excite and move us.
Explore the depths of the ocean in an all new American Experience: Sealab premiering 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12 on Wisconsin Public Television.
Sealab tells the story of the U.S. Navy’s program that sought to answer the question of whether human life could survive on the ocean floor. The program, spearheaded by George Bond, a former doctor from Appalachia turned naval pioneer, as well as his team of “aquanauts,” tested the limits of human endurance and changed ocean exploration forever.
Read on to find out more about this incredible story!
Stephen Hawking, who passed away last night at the age of 76, had a long connection with public television – as you might expect for someone who promoted curiosity and big questions about the universe.
As Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted in tribute, “His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it’s not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure.”
Four days. 285+ events. Endless fun. The Wisconsin Science Festival takes place Nov. 2-5, and Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio are once again looking forward to being a part of the event!
The Wisconsin Science Festival is a statewide celebration for all ages, with engaging events such as hands-on science exhibitions, demonstrations, performances, tours, pub nights and workshops.
This year, we’re celebrating 100 Years of Wisconsin Broadcast at the Wisconsin Science Festival— and you’re invited to join us for a scientific trip down memory lane! Read on to get details on WPT and WPR’s Wisconsin Science Festival events in Madison, taking place on Friday, Nov. 3. Plus, explore this year’s festival lineup and go behind the scenes to learn how event leaders are prepping for the four-day festival.
“I discovered that I could be smart and capable and valuable for something that had nothing to do with Hollywood. This is me. And it felt great.”
In this powerful and inspirational video, Wonder Years actress Danica McKellar shares how her discovery of mathematics in college helped her discover she is so much more than a former child star. Knowledge truly is power!
As a kid, I always wondered what it would be like to have an identical twin. Would we switch places to trick our friends? Would we become famous actresses, maybe even starring in Full House? One scenario I never considered, however, is what twin doctors (twin doctors … what are the odds?) Xand and Chris Van Tulleken decided to do with their genetic similarities.
In the twins’ documentary Sugar vs. Fat, premiering 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 6 on Wisconsin Public Television, the pair go on separate diets for four weeks, with Xand only eating foods with a high sugar content like breads, pasta, rice, potatoes, sweets and fizzy drinks, and Chris only eating high-fat foods, consuming as much butter, cheese, meat, burgers, cream and mayonnaise as he desires.
Throughout their dietary duel, they test how their minds and bodies cope with high-sugar and high-fat meals. By the end of their experiment, the twins are less healthy than when they began, but their health suffers in very different ways. The end result proves that while both sugar and fat are damaging, the combination of the two could be the most threatening of all.
While the fact that sugar and fat aren’t particularly good for us might be unsurprising, the documentary offers a unique look at how certain food groups affect our bodies. The twins are extremely entertaining throughout, offering a much-needed dose of humor to lighten up the otherwise serious topic.
And for the record, if I had the opportunity to eat one of these dietary menaces in excess without the harmful consequences, I’d be team sugar all the way.
If you’re feeling a tad ambitious and want to explore some quantum physics, here’s a nifty little project for you. According to PBS NOVA, “Right now, the smallest particles in the universe are shooting, not only in front of you, but also through you.” And, believe it or not, you can get a glimpse of these sub atomic particles in your own home. No fancy lab equipment required.
Here’s what you need:
– a jar
– rubbing alcohol
– a sponge
– a flashlight
– dry ice (just do a Google search)
And finally, you need some curious participants. Kids would love this little experiment, but they’re totally optional in my opinion. Explorers of any age will find the fun in this DIY subatomic particle detector. Check out the video from NOVA.
On his new series, How We Got to Now – premiering with its first two episodes tonight at 8 and 9 on WPT – best-selling author Steven Johnson explores the impact of innovation on our modern existence by following the fascinating – and often surprising – paths of scientific discovery that shaped who we are today.
I could try to explain how Johnson traveled around the world – and back in time! – to find out how even the seemingly most simple endeavors changed the entire path of history, but it is much better to go right to the source.
We had the chance to do just that in September when Johnson visited Madison to speak to the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. He sat down with us for an exclusive interview at the Monona Terrace and talked about his new book and PBS series, both which reveal the story behind the remarkable ideas that made modern life possible. Watch the conversation now.
We are proud to be part of the QUEST public media project, because it gives us an opportunity to continue to go out and find stories of science and sustainability to share with our viewers. And, as a national project, those stories of good work being done in and around our state get shared with viewers across the country.
This Thursday night at 7, three all-new episodes of the series premiere on Wisconsin Public Television and they feature innovations and good work from Wisconsin in the preservation of forests and heirloom fruits and vegetables.
The first new episode of QUEST, “Keeping it Cool: Otters, Cars and Old Forests,” airs at 7 p.m. and features an in-depth look at an initiative aimed at exploring ways of building resilient forests in Wisconsin by looking to the forest-management processes followed by the state’s Menominee tribe. University of Wisconsin-Madison forestry professor David Mladenoff and his team’s research is featured in the segment produced by WPT’s Andy Soth.
Two additional QUEST episodes, featuring reports on bicycle technology, new energy possibilities and the future of bees broadcast at 7:30 and 8 p.m. The third episode at 8, “Wolves, Seeds and Bees” features another WPT report from La Crosse, where the La Crosse Public Library and librarians Cindy Mischnick and Kelly Becker have started a new program to save and share heirloom vegetable seeds in their community in an effort to help preserve genetic diversity in our food crops.
Watch both segments below and tune in to explore these topics and more from our QUEST partners across the country. Visit QUESTScience.org to find web exclusive reports and more.
Our friends at Wisconsin Public Radio are also part of the project and are airing a series of Wisconsin-based sustainability reports during Morning Edition and Central Time throughout the week. The Larry Meiller Show has also featured special talk-topics this week, including a discussion on the importance of electronics recycling. Listen to that report online now to learn why those outdated gadgets cluttering up your house should be recycled and where.