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Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity

Premier :: 2011-10-06

on BBC Four

Genre :: Documentary

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Electricity – more often in the news for rising prices than how it sustains our way of life. Shock & Awe: The Story of Electricity, an Open University and BBC partnership, will tell the story of our quest to master this mysterious force. Presenter Professor Jim Al-Khalili will reveal how electricity not only powers our lives, but underpins every aspect of technological advancement. He will discuss how a diverse collection of people - some establishment traditionalists, some maverick outsiders, and some in-between - learned to create, store and move electricity, not only for heating and lighting, but also to convey information over vast distances. It allowed almost instantaneous communication across the seas and through the air, to connect people across the world in ways unimagined before. It supercharged the progress of science in every other field and is now the lifeblood of the modern world.

Latest Episode

Series 1 - Episode 3 - Revelations and Revolutions
Aired - 20 October 2011

Episode summary:

Electricity is not just something that creates heat and light, it connects the world through networks and broadcasting. After centuries of man's experiments with electricity, the final episode tells the story of how a new age of real understanding dawned - how we discovered electric fields and electromagnetic waves. Today we can hardly imagine life without electricity - it defines our era. As our understanding of it has increased so has our reliance upon it, and today we're on the brink of a new breakthrough, because if we can understand the secret of electrical superconductivity we could once again transform the world.

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