home converse contact


James Burke  

What do the Hubble Space Telescope, Buffalo Bill, and the Spanish Inquisition have in common? How do margarine’s strange origins tie it to plankton shells, receding stars, hot chocolate, and the first solo Atlantic flight? If you’ve ever seen James Burke’s documentary TV series Connections or read his column of the same name, you know how he brings together these seemingly unrelated ideas and innovations, spinning a vast web of knowledge. In a special visit to the Smithsonian, James Burke explains how the Internet now brings countless new connections to light. He also asserts that the World Wide Web has given us a new awareness of our interdependence—with each other and with the past—and discusses how this will change our lives.


Connections: an alternative view of change by James Burke

Original Series Episodes

1:The Trigger Effect 2:Death in the Morning 3:Distant Voices
4: Faith in Numbers 5:The Wheel of Fortune 6: Thunder in the Skies
7: The Long Chain 8:Eat, Drink, and Be Merry 9: Countdown
10: Yesterday, Tomorrow and You


An Example of Episode 3 - "Distant Voices"

The introduction of the saddle stirrup at the Battle of Hastings by the Normans, triggered a whole series of innovations in the science of warfare; the armor, the shield, the very concept of knighthood. The cannon and a silver strike, spawned the serendipities of Galileo. The vacuum pump and air pressure were discovered in Galileo's attempt to extract silver from deep mines. Widespread experiments ultimately led to the discovery of magnetism, electricity, radio, radar and promise to help unravel the mysteries of deep space communications. Traces the connection between medieval advances in the science of warfare, the discovery of large silver deposits in Czechoslovakia, the discovery of natural laws, and the invention of modern telecommunications.

1. nuclear bomb

2. Battle of Hastings

3. stirrup

4. family name

5. identifying marks

6. Agincourt - Welch long bow

7. plow

8. crop rotation

9. gun powder

10. bell making

11. bombard

12. silver mines

13. tallers

14. water wheels

15. blast furnace

16. metal mining

17. sump pumps

18. vacuum study

19. barometer

20. electrical charges

21. Galvani

22. Volta

23. battery

24. electro-magnetism

5. telephone

26. inter-stellar communication