The Glass Age, Pt 1

Want to download 17,000 HD movies from NetFlix® in a single second? Use glass.

Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman introduce us to a whole new way of thinking about glass. Learn the history of glass innovation and watch incredible demonstrations of bendable optical fiber and thin, ultra-flexible glass.This is the Glass Age, where materials science is constantly pushing boundaries and creating new possibilities for glass-enabled technology and design. See how glass is shaping the future at
Presented by Corning.


I first ran across this idea on a British show called QI, but it had truthfully been rattling around in my head for a while: the unique benefits bestowed by glass. Now, the Quizmaster of QI—Stephen Fry—had a different take on this, namely that the western world’s fascination with the clarity of glass led to it’s dominance in science and industry. Nevertheless, the point was made.

It is the unique property of glass that has bestowed on the modern world such prosperity. Think of population and lifespan. Major advances in medicine were mere guesswork until the invention of lens let us see that there were indeed tiny things that (contrary to common superstition) might make us sick. Glass allows light into our homes, UV light that is harmful to many pathogens that thrive in the dark and damp. Glass allows us to create lanterns (and later flashlights) that allow us to take our “torches” with us and move safely in the dark. Glass let light into the holds of ships that transported goods (and people) across oceans, transporting the raw materials that built our modern world and (more importantly) mixing and mingling the populations of the world. Glass also housed the liquid wherein sat the needle of the compasses that guided those ships.

Imagine a world without glass. No smartphone. No car windows. No windows. No TV screens. No Lightbulbs. No glasses. No wine glasses. Truly, this is the Glass Age.


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