ABOUT THE SHOW
Richard Hammond's Engineering Connections is a documentary series originally broadcast on the National Geographic Channel, and later on BBC2. It is presented by Richard Hammond, and looks at how engineers and designers use historic inventions and clues from the natural world in ingenious ways to develop new buildings and machines. The show's format is very similar to that of James Burke's 1978 documentary series, Connections. The first series premiered on May 15, 2008, on National Geographic, and on 1 March 2010, on BBC2. The first series contained four episodes. The second series premiered on 7 September 2009, on National Geographic, and on 8 May 2010, on BBC2. The second series contained six episodes.
Episode 1: Wembley Stadium
Richard Hammond explores the record-breaking arch at the new Wembley, a key part of the designers' quest to retain the stadium's iconic status.
Episode 2: Sydney Opera House
Richard Hammond climbs to the top of Sydney's iconic Opera House to unlock the Engineering Connections behind one of the most instantly recognizable buildings in the world. He reveals how an architect's sketch, rejected by the design competition jury, was transformed into concrete and glass through trail-blazing building techniques inspired by a First World War gas mask, a set of false teeth, a collapsible puppet toy, an Ancient Pharaoh's chest and a 19th century sailing ship.
Episode 3: HMS Illustrious
Richard Hammond unpicks the engineering DNA of the mighty aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious. A potent force with a powerful punch, this aircraft carrier can deliver a strike force anywhere on the globe at any time. It's a floating airport, city and battleship all rolled into one. But what connects this indomitable vessel with a boomerang, a hearing aid, an 18th century seed drill, Tower Bridge and the space race?
Episode 4: Guggenheim Bilbao
Richard Hammond visits a building described as the 'greatest of our time' - the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain - to find out which Engineering Connections made this iconic building possible. A visionary architect transformed a decaying city into a vibrant tourist hub with his futuristic building. But it would not have been possible without a volcano, an egg, Sir Walter Raleigh, a surveyor's trundle wheel and a Cold War Russian submarine.
Episode 5: Millau Bridge
Richard Hammond reveals the engineering inspirations behind the tallest road bridge in the world - the Millau Viaduct, in France. He fires three quarters of a million volts from his finger tips to see how the power of lightning cut the steel structure quickly and accurately. The huge piers - 340 metres high, and which would look down on the Eiffel Tower - were positioned to millimetre accuracy with the system that located lost nuclear submarines. The longest road-deck in the world was launched along the top of the piers - and required the slipperiest substance known to man - Teflon; not even a gecko can stick to it. Steel cables hold the bridge in shape - born of a series of mining accidents. And to allow the bridge to expand a metre and a half in the summer sun the engineers turned to an ancient Celtic boat-building technique which can make concrete as bendy as wood.
Episode 6: Hong Kong Airport
Richard Hammond reveals the startling engineering connections behind Hong Kong's Ocean Airport, one of the busiest and biggest in the world, sited on a specially constructed island. The world's largest construction project drew inspiration from a 13th Century Arab irrigation machine, a WWII bomber, car suspension, a bizarre Cold War spy device and a brass band, all resulting in the new gateway to Asia.
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