The amazing story of how humans changed the world, told through six revolutionary inventions.
EPISODE 2 (BREI #102): THE AIRPLANE
Premiere Date: Wednesday, April 24, 10-11 p.m. ET
Take to the sky with those who inspired the Wright brothers to invent the first successful airplane.
|PBS, the preeminent go-to destination for engaging, enlightening and entertaining programming, brings viewers a mind-blowing, science-led journey through human history with its new weekly series, BREAKTHROUGH: THE IDEAS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD. Told through six iconic objects that modern people take for granted, the six-part series shows how science invention and technology built on one another to change everything.
On Wednesday, April 24 at 10-11 p.m. ET, tune into the premiere of the series’ second episode, “The Airplane,” to take to the sky with those who inspired the Wright brothers to invent the first successful airplane. From Leonardo da Vinci’s “flying machines” to the modern commercial plane, without these inventions, we may have never left the ground. The airplane is the machine that gave us our greatest superpower – the ability to fly. The journey to successful flight is a story full of passion, danger and death, and this episode showcases the revolutionaries and visionaries who made it possible to leave the ground.
Abba Ibn Firnas, Moorish/Islamic Scholar & World’s First Pilot (He was a polymath – an inventor, engineer, aviator, physician, Arabic poet and Andalusian musician.)
Leonardo da Vinci, Italian Polymath of the Renaissance (One of the greatest painters of all time; called father of architecture; also credited with the inventions of the parachute and helicopter.)
Sir George Cayley, British Inventor & Scientist (Pioneer of aerial navigation and aeronautical engineering, and designer of the first successful glider to carry a human being.)
Alphonse Penaud, French Aeronautical Inventor & Engineer (Father of Flying Models and creator of the Planophore.)
Otto Lilienthal, German Pioneer of Aviation, Aeronautical Engineer (Known as the “Flying Man,” for becoming the first person to make successful, documented flights with gliders.)
Wilbur & Orville Wright, American Inventors & Pioneers of Aviation (Creators of the world’s first successful flying airplane.)
Wiley Post, American Pilot (First pilot to fly solo around the world, helped develop one of the first pressure suits and discovered the jet stream.)
Frank Whittle, British Royal Air Force Officer/Aviator (Inventor of the Jet Engine.)
Brandon Mikesell, Wingsuit Flyer
Dr. Shini Somara, Fluid Dynamicist
Dr. David Lentink, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University
Tiera Fletcher, Aeronautical, Rocket Structural Design & Analysis Engineer, Boeing
Bruce Weaver, Gliding Instructor
Jim Al-Khalili, Professor of Theoretical Physics University of Surrey
Lt. Col. Ross Franquemont, U2 Pilot
Maj. Dana Thomas, Operation Physiologist
Richard Browning, English Inventor, Entrepreneur & Speaker
“BREAKTHROUGH: THE IDEAS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD” is a six-part series documenting how humans changed the world forever. Taking viewers through a mind-blowing journey through human history, the series is told through six iconic objects that modern people take for granted. Each object – the telescope, airplane, robot, car, rocket and smart phone – is the culmination of a long-held human dream to explore, communicate and find one’s place in the universe.
Through incredible, lesser-known stories of familiar history, BREAKTHROUGH captures the secrets of the modern world through surprising accidents, colorful characters, joy and despair. Often stretching to the beginning of human civilization itself, each hour-long episode shares thousands of years of thought, struggle, determination and insight. Featuring passionate visionaries who faced triumphs and challenges – ridicule, poverty and in some cases, death – these revolutionary individuals advanced humankind with breakthrough after breakthrough. The series reveals how science, invention and technology built on one another to change everything – a process that continues to this very day.
A new episode of BREAKTHROUGH: THE IDEAS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD debuts every Wednesday at 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS Video App (check local listings).
BREAKTHROUGH: THE IDEAS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD is available for streaming simultaneously on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. PBS station members will be available to view all episodes via Passport (contact your local PBS station for details). Beginning July 9, 2019, the series will be available on DVD and via digital download from PBS Distribution at shopPBS.org.
BREAKTHROUGH: THE IDEAS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD is a production of BIGGER BANG COMMUNICATIONS, LTD. The executive producers are Ben Bowie and Iain Riddick, and the series producer is Tim Green. The series is narrated by Patrick Stewart.
PBS, with nearly 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 90 million people through television and 30 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.
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