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A thrilling podcast about the History of the Modern World.  Humanity has been hard at work for centuries to empower itself with better tools and insights, from science and surgery to electricity and the Internet, and this series celebrates the history of those triumphs.  Compared to our ancestors, we live like superheroes and sorcerers, endowed with powers they could never have imagined. But how did we achieve all this? Historian Brad Harris tackles that question head on, revealing how the most important scientific, technological, and cultural advancements in history began, and inspiring us to keep reaching for new historical triumphs along the way.

Feb 5, 2018

We've all heard about how the printing press revolutionized book production. But, the real revolution was in how printed books, as opposed to handwritten ones, obliterated the intellectual barriers between us, leading to the Scientific Revolution, The Enlightenment, and beyond.

Witness how the ancient trickle of...

Jan 8, 2018

The transition from the Stone Age to the age of metals marks the historical arrival of civilization.  But, how was it that people first learned to see stone not as a tool in itself but as a reservoir of better tools?  And how did we master that material revolution to forge cars & computers from sticks & stones?


Dec 18, 2017

Historian Brad Harris reveals the correlations between the spread of coffee consumption and the rise of modern institutions.

From science to security, insurance to stock exchanges, and all the way through to democratic liberation, coffee's arrival into Europe in the 1600s helped awaken Western Civilization...

Nov 29, 2017

Historian Brad Harris reveals what empowered us to wield cold. 

While most of the achievements of technology seem based on our conquest of heat, the unsung technological hero of modernity is refrigeration. It’s on-demand cold is critical in preserving the unprecedented cornucopia of foods we eat. But refrigeration...

Nov 20, 2017

In this introduction to Season Two, historian Brad Harris challenges the growing cynicism toward the ideas of progress and modernity, recalling what The Enlightenment was all about.

Music provided by Zack Hemsey, "Redemption," from the album, The Way, 2011.

How It Began is supported by CuriosityStream.  Go to