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Rise of Theory

Learn how humanity moved from mystical divination practices to genuine, scientific theory to explain natural phenomena. From Newton’s gravity to the historic problem of longitude to the advent of modern epidemiology, predictive practices have evolved over years or even centuries from the observation and accumulation of data into full blown theoretical systems. Watch as broad questions about nature, movement, and the universe become refined with time and sparks of human brilliance into precise and elegant theories of nature in the Path to Newton. Learn about the rise of modern epidemiology in the spellbinding story of John Snow and London’s Cholera Outbreak of 1854. Lastly, discover how humanity managed to overcome the greatest intellectual challenge of the time during the age of exploration -- how to measure longitude at sea -- in the interactive Lost Without Longitude.

Select which section from the Rise of Theory you want to study first by clicking on an image of the topic you want to study using the interactive menu below.

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Follow the course of humanity's efforts to understand the forces guiding our universe, from the Ancient Babylonians to Newton's Universal Theory of Gravitation in the Path to Newton.


Learn about the father of

epidemiology, John Snow, and his groundbreaking discoveries in Victorian Era London. Follow Alyssa as she retraces the path he took, racing to locate the source of the city's cholera outbreak.


During the Age of Exploration, knowing one's longitude made the difference between life and death, and who held the key of global naval domination. Learn the fascinating history of the race to a theory of longitude.

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