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A to Z: How Writing Changed the World

The creation of printing, the first information technology, drove empires and revolutions.

Premiered: Runtime: 53:31Topic: Ancient WorldsAncient WorldsNova
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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)

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

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.