Support Provided ByLearn More

A to Z: How Writing Changed the World

Discover how writing—and eventually printing—revolutionized the spread of information.

Premiered: Runtime: 53:31Topic: Ancient WorldsAncient WorldsNova
Premiered on PBS

Just as writing changed the course of human history, the evolution of paper and printing revolutionized the spread of information. While the invention of paper boosted Chinese and Islamic societies, the simple fact that the Latin alphabet could be printed using a small number of discrete, repetitive symbols helped popularize moveable type, handing Europe a crucial advantage at the beginning of the Renaissance. The printing press itself kicked off the scientific revolution that fast-tracked us to the current digital age. (Premiered September 30, 2020)

More Ways to Watch

Support Provided ByLearn More

Explore More

All Extras

Additional funding for "How Writing Changed the World" is provided by the George D. Smith Fund.

National corporate funding for NOVA is provided by Draper. Major funding for NOVA is provided by the David H. Koch Fund for Science, the NOVA Science Trust, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS viewers.