What's the greatest invention of the past 2000 years? We asked some scientists and writers for their opinions: the clock, the contraceptive pill, electricity, chairs and stairs, and flying machines. You probably have your own nominations. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge we'll celebrate them all. Also, how some Manhattan Project scientists made peace with the bomb. And, putting Darwin's theory of evolution to the test.
Several of the contributors to John Brockman's book "The Greatest Inventions of the Past 2,000 Years" nominate their favorites, from birth control to flying machines. (List Below) Also, Steve Jones, author of "Darwin's Ghost: The Origin of Species Updated," tells Judith Strasser that we can see evolution at work in contemporary phenomena like the spread of the HIV virus. He says Darwin's theory has been conclusively proven. Jones teaches genetics at University College in London.SEGMENT 2:
Writer Joey Green's latest book is "The Mad Scientist Handbook." Green helps Jim Fleming create a mini-lava-lamp and corn-starch quicksand right in the studio! Green says the point is to have so much fun with kids that they forget they're learning science. Also, writer Mary Palevsky's parents were junior scientists on the Manhattan project. The experience changed them forever. Palevsky found this true of many of the people who worked on the Bomb. She explains what she found in her book "Atomic Fragments: A Daughter's Questions" and in this conversation with Steve Paulson.SEGMENT 3:
Catherine Thimmesh is the author of a children's book called "Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women." She tells Jim Fleming that women have dreamed up everything from voice-controlled wheel chairs to Kevlar - one of the strongest fibers in the world.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 00-05-28-B.
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