How did the nautical instruments of Elizabethan times give rise to the atom bomb? What links Britain's textile mills to the Information Age? And how did exploding billiard balls usher in an era of mass media entertainment? In this landmark 1978 documentary series, James Burke examines the surprising connections and happy accidents that led scientists to discover and develop the key technologies of our time. With mighty intelligence and sharp wit, the former Tomorrow's World presenter turns science into a detective story, leading viewers through 12,000 years of history to find the vital clues that would spark life-changing inventions in telecommunications, plastics, film and TV, jet propulsion, nuclear fusion and personal computing. Explaining the 'trigger effect' of ever-accelerating advances in technology that leave us dependent on increasingly complex networks, he predicts a future world in which radical change in the availability and use of information will be needed if we are to remain in control of our societies and systems. A brilliant and enlightening account of how seemingly disparate scientific innovations mesh together to produce extraordinary and unforeseen technological advances.