Connections (1978 TV series)

Connections (1978 TV series) is a ten-part documentary series presented by science historian James Burke, exploring the various paths of how our modern technological world came into existence. The series takes an interdisciplinary approach to the history of science and invention; the entire gestalt of the modern world is the result of a web of interconnected events. And the series contends that various discoveries, scientific achievements, and historical world events are built from one another successively in an interconnected way to bring about particular aspects of modern technology. To demonstrate this view, each episode of the series begins with a particular event or innovation in the past (usually Ancient or Medieval times) and traces the path from that event through a series of seemingly unrelated connections to a fundamental and essential aspect of the modern world. (from

Episode 01 - The Trigger Effect

Episode 01 - The Trigger Effect
This episode details the world's present dependence on complex technological networks through a detailed narrative of New York City and the power blackout of 1965.

Episode 02 - Death in the Morning
This episode examines the standardization of precious metal with the touchstone in the ancient world.

Episode 03 - Distant Voices
This episode suggests that telecommunications exist because Normans had stirrups for horse riding which in turn led them to further advancements in warfare.

Episode 04 - Faith in Numbers
This episode examines the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance from the perspective of how commercialism, climate change and the Black Death influenced cultural development.

Episode 05 - The Wheel of Fortune
This episode traces astrological knowledge in ancient Greek manuscripts from Baghdad's founder, Caliph Al-Mansur, via the Muslim monastery/medical school at Gundeshapur, to the medieval Church's need for alarm clocks.

Episode 06 - Thunder in the Skies
This episode implicates the Little Ice Age (ca. 1250-1300 AD) in the invention of the chimney, as well as knitting, buttons, wainscoting, wall tapestries, wall plastering, glass windows, and the practice of privacy for sleeping and sex.

Episode 07 - The Long Chain
This episode traces the invention of the Fluyt freighter in Holland in the 16th century.

Episode 08 - Eat, Drink and be Merry
This episode begins with plastic, the plastic credit card and the concept of credit, then leaps back to the time of the Dukes of Burgundy, the first state to use credit.

Episode 09 - Countdown
This episode connects the invention of the movie projector to improvements in castle fortifications caused by the invention and use of the cannon.

Episode 10 - Yesterday, Tomorrow and You
This episode is a bit of a recap; change causes more change.

Related Links
Connections (TV series) - wikipedia
Connections is a ten-episode documentary television series and 1978 book ("Connections" based on the series) created, written and presented by science historian James Burke.
James Burke's Connections II (1994)
Connections II (Connections 2) is a twenty-episode documentary television series created, written and presented by science historian James Burke in 1994.
James Burke's Connections III (1997)
Connections III (Connections 3) is a ten-episode documentary television series created, written and presented by science historian James Burke in 1997.
The Day the Universe Changed
This is a ten part documentary series presented by James Burke, telling the various stories of important scientific discoveries and technological advances and how they fundamentally altered how people perceive the world.
The Ascent of Man
This is a BBC documentary series presented by Jacob Bronowski, looking at human history through scientific and technological achievements from prehistoric era to the mid-20th century.
What the Ancients Did for Us
This is a BBC documentary series presented by Adam Hart-Davis that examines the impact of ancient civilizations on modern society.