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Published on October 29th, 2014 | By: April Gocha


PBS documentary ‘How We Got to Now’ highlights glass’s past

Published on October 29th, 2014 | By: April Gocha

[Image above] Steven Johnson hosts a new PBS documentary miniseries episode, called “How We Got to Now,” that highlights glass’s intriguing past. Credit: PBS



PBS has a new documentary miniseries called “How We Got to Now” that “reveals the story behind the remarkable ideas that have made modern life possible; the unsung heroes that brought them into the world—and the unexpected and bizarre consequences each of these innovations has triggered.” It’s a compelling premise, and it gets even more compelling when the show explores one of our favorite materials—glass.


Sure, glass is everywhere in our lives today—smartphone screens, window panes, sufboards, windshields, bottles, insulation, and so much more—but how did its ubiquity come to be?


The episode details the storied history of glass and how its adoption in various places has had lasting consequences that reverberate throughout our lives today.


Glass has had immense impacts on science, societal progress, art, technology, and even the idea of ourselves. As host Steven Johnson puts it— literally and figuratively—we’re all woven together with threads of glass.


But in the end, glass really owes its firm footing in our lives to a surprising suitor—alcohol. I won’t spoil the story, but be sure to head on over to PBS to catch the full 55-minute story behind glass. Watch if for free anytime on their site, but don’t wait too long—the video expires online on November 5.



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