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Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Connections 1 for applying an
interdisciplinary approach to history and science and showing
us how seemingly unconnected events are really interconnected.

Connections 1
Presented by James Burke

Connections 1 (1978) - 500 minutes
Connections 1 at Amazon.com

This ten volume series was made in 1978 by turning science into a detective story; James Burke creates a series that will fascinate students and adults alike. This interdisciplinary approach has never before been applied to history or science. It succeeds tremendously. Winner of the Red Ribbon in the American Film Festival, the scope of the series covers 19 countries and 150 locations, requiring over 14 months of filming.

As the Sherlock Holmes of science, Burke tracks through 12,000 years of history for the clues that lead us to eight great life changing inventions - the atom bomb, telecommunications, the computer, the production line, jet aircraft, plastics, rocketry and television. Burke postulates that such changes occur in response to factors he calls "triggers," some of them seemingly unrelated. These have their own triggering effects, causing change in totally unrelated fields as well. And so the connections begin.

"This is another superb example of the genius of James Burke, whose Connections Series has rightly garnered all sorts of awards...This journey will introduce the student to the famous as well as the obscure. This film is a wonderful intellectual romp." - The American Film and Video Review

  • Volume 1: The Trigger Effect
    Both the beginning and the end of the story are here. The end is our present dependence on complex technological networks illustrated by the NYC power blackouts. Life came almost to a standstill: support systems taken for granted failed. How did we become so helpless?
  • Volume 2: Death in the Morning
    How did a test of gold's purity revolutionize the world 2500 years ago and lead to the atomic bomb? Standardizing precious metal in coins stimulated trade from Greece to Persia, causing the construction of a huge commercial center and library at Alexandria. This wealth of nautical knowledge aided navigators fourteen centuries later.
  • Volume 3: Distant Voices
    Telecommunications exist because the Normans wore stirrups at the Battle of Hastings - a simple advance that caused a revolution in the increasingly expensive science of warfare. Europe turned its attention to making money to wage wars. As mine shafts were dug deeper, they became flooded, stimulating scientists like Galileo to investigate vacuums, air pressure and other natural laws to mine deeper silver.
  • Volume 4: Faith in Numbers
    Each development in the organization of systems - political, economic, mechanical, electronic - influences the next, by logic, by genius, by chance, or by utterly unforeseen events. The transition from the Middle ages to the Renaissance was influenced by the rise of commercialism, a sudden change in climate, famine and the Black Death, which set the stage for the invention of the printing press.
  • Volume 5: The Wheel of Fortune
    The power to see into the future with computers originally rested with priest-astronomers who knew the proper times to plant and harvest. The constellations influenced life spectacularly, particularly when the ailing Caliph of Baghdad was cured by an astrologer using Greek lore. His ancient medical secrets were translated and spread throughout Europe, ushering in an era of scientific inquiry.
  • Volume 6: Thunder in the Skies
    A dramatically colder climate gripped Europe during the 13th century profoundly affecting the course of history for the next seven centuries. The changes in energy usage transformed architecture and forced the creation of new power sources. The coming of the Industrial Revolution, spurred on by advances in the steam engine, scarred England indelibly: but a moment in history later, gasoline-powered engines opened the way to the heavens.
  • Volume 7: The Long Chain
    Often, materials discovered by accident alter the course of the world. In the 1600s Dutch commercial freighters controlled Atlantic trade routes. Competing British lines induced America to produce pitch to protect the hulls of their royal vessels. This arrangement lasted until 1776, after which a Scottish inventor tried to produce pitch from coal tar. By the time he succeeded the navy was using copper instead.
  • Volume 8: Eat, Drink and Be Marry
    When Napoleon marched huge forces across Europe, he needed an efficient way to store provisions. A Frenchman preserved sterilized food in empty champagne bottles, an idea modified by the British, who tried tin cans. Still, canned foods sometimes spoiled, which led to experiments with refrigeration. Later it was discovered that gases may be stored at very low temperatures in a thermos flask, when lit by a spark these gases can send rockets into space.
  • Volume 9: Countdown
    What happens when you combine a carbon arc light, a billiard ball coating, a spoked wheel and consecutive images? Motion pictures! Complex and sometimes incredible events led to Thomas Edison's remarkable invention; the beginnings of limelight on an Irish mountain; George Eastman's production of celluloid from the slightly explosive gun cotton; the "magic lantern" of an Austrian ballistics teacher.
  • Volume 10: Yesterday, Tomorrow and You
    "Why did we do it this way?" Essential moments from the previous programs are reviewed to illustrate the common factors that make for change. Will they go on operating to affect our futures? And if so, can we recognize them?

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Connections 1
Presented by James Burke

Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Connections 1 for applying an
interdisciplinary approach to history and science and showing
us how seemingly unconnected events are really interconnected.