How we got to Now

How We Got To Now with Steven Johnson is a six part documentary series that reveals the story behind the remarkable ideas that 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.

Funded by CPB

Recent Episode

Introducing How We Got to Now on Learning Media


Steven introduces how the series can be used to inspire innovation in the classroom.

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About How We Got To Now


Steven discusses the various themes and innovations explored in the series.

Steven's Memorable Moments


Steven looks back at some of his most memorable moments during the filming of the series.

Where do good ideas come from?


Rather than a series of 'lightbulb moments', ideas can sometimes take a little longer!

The Development of Chlorine


How did chlorination help purify drinking water in America?

The Story of Standardized Time


Steven explains how we developed a global system of standardized time.

Measuring Sound


Introducing Harvey Fletcher, the man who invented a meter to measure noise pollution.