‘Breakthrough’ unravels the history of transcendent ideas

Take a mind-blowing journey through human history using six iconic objects that we now often take for granted in “Breakthrough: The Ideas That Changed the World” each Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. on Arizona PBS.

See how science, invention and technology built on one another to change everything. Told through iconic, modern-day objects – the telescope, airplane, robot, car, rocket and smartphone – the series is the culmination of the long-held human dream to explore, communicate and find one’s place in the universe.

April 17: The Telescope

Meet the brilliant minds throughout history, from Galileo to Edwin Hubble, responsible for creating the telescope. Today, their invention allows humanity to reach the furthest limits of seeing 13 billion light-years out. Watch via Passport.

April 24: The Airplane

Take to the sky with the dreamers whose work gave humans the ability to fly. From Leonardo da Vinci’s “flying machines” to the modern commercial plane, without these inventions, we may have never left the ground. Watch via Passport.

May 1: The Robot

Learn how robots were first conceptualized in ancient Rome and see how their use has evolved over the centuries, from the calculator to the Roomba. Then, take a sneak peek at what future robots will be able to do. Watch online.

May 8: The Car

Go for a ride through the 9,000-year history of the car, from its roots in dogsleds to Henry Ford’s affordable and assembly line-built Model T, and meet the scientists working on the next generation of self-driving automobiles. Watch online.

May 15: The Rocket

Learn the explosive history of the rocket, from its origin in ancient China, to its use as a weapon of war, to how adding hydrogen allowed it to carry astronauts all the way to the moon. Watch online.

May 22:  The Smartphone

Dial in to the fascinating history of the smartphone, from its roots in Morse Code to 2007, when Apple unveiled the first-ever iPhone. Plus, see how the next generation of smartphones will allow us to communicate through them just by thinking. Watch online.

Sponsor message:

Sponsor message:

Sign up to receive the Arizona PBS Insider

Get up-to-the-minute information about your favorite programs and learn more about Arizona PBS news and events.

'Nature' explores the wilds on Wednesday nights

From the remarkable octopus to a river of dreams, experience compelling stories of the natural world as "Nature" returns to Arizona PBS Wednesday nights at 7 p.m.

'Poldark' rides again on 'Masterpiece' this fall

The “Poldark” saga is drawing to a close in this fifth and final season of drama in Cornwall, airing Sundays at 8 p.m., beginning Sept. 29 on Arizona PBS.

'The David Rubenstein Show' explores successful leadership

What makes a truly great leader? And how can leadership be developed into a force for true achievement? David Rubenstein sits down with influential figures to explore their paths to success.