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American Innovations


DNA science. Artificial intelligence. Smartphones and 3D printers. Science and technology have transformed the world we live in. But how did we get here? It wasn’t by accident. Well, sometimes it was. It was also the result of hard work, teamwork, and competition. And incredibly surprising moments.

Hosted by bestselling author Steven Johnson (“How We Got To Now”), American Innovations uses immersive scenes to tell the stories of the scientists, engineers, and ordinary people behind the greatest discoveries of the past century.

Listen to American Innovations on the Wondery App or wherever you get your podcasts. You can binge all episodes ad-free on Wondery+. Join Wondery+ in the Wondery App, Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Start your free trial by visiting now.

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Our Editor's Take

Where would we be without the celebrated enterprise of Americans past and present? It takes only a cursory glance at the world around us to realize the impact made by the intellect, technology, and creativity of visionaries across the USA.

We live in a world abundant with innovation; much of which has become embedded into the routine of day-to-day life. Dramatic inventions like the electric chair and virtual reality may pique your interest, but what about the Coca-Cola you drink, the social media you scroll, and the Peloton you sweat on? The stories behind these contemporary products are fascinating and without American innovation, they would not exist.

Hosted by Steven Johnson, best-selling author and one of Prospect magazine’s "Top Ten Brains of the Digital Future", American Innovations lifts the lid off the country’s ingenuity. Johnson makes for a compelling host, offering the richly-researched content you would expect from a New York Times contributor. Through Johnson’s storytelling, you’ll find yourself invigorated with an almost childlike curiosity around topics that may otherwise appear more mundane.

Johnson crafts each episode with narrative so that the listener can join on a voyage of discovery; embarking and enjoying surprising moments and fascinating details. Standout episodes include "The Mystery of Stuxnet" (the worm malware that targeted Iranian nuclear plants), "Rubber: The Miracle Material", and "Storm Chasers". Join in on Johnson’s travels through American innovations throughout history and find your own favorite episodes.

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Season 57

Season 55

Season 54

Season 53

Season 51

Season 50