The Web Goes World Wide

Season 3

August 6, 1991. On an Internet news board, a memo appears, describing a new project that some scientists have been developing: “The WorldWideWeb (WWW) project.” It’s meant to help ordinary people use the Internet—which at the time is only being used by a small group of experts. How did a group of scientists and coders even conceive of something like the Web? And how did they bring it not just to coders and other specialists, but to the rest of us—for better or for worse?

Special thanks to our guests: Robert Cailliau, Jean-François Groff, Peggie Rimmer, Ben Segal, and Marc Weber, Web historian and curator at the Computer History Museum. To learn more about the Web’s story, visit the Internet History Program page on the Museum’s website: computerhistory.org/nethistory.

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A Meteorite Hits Ann Hodges

Season 4
November 30, 1954. At about 12:45 in the afternoon, a space rock comes plummeting through the roof of a house in Sylacauga, Alabama. It bounces off a standup radio, ricochets around the living room, and collides with the thigh of Mrs. Ann Hodges, who’s been napping on the couch. Newspapers declare: “experts agreed unanimously that Mrs. Hodges was the first person known to have been struck by a meteorite.” What happened to this space rock after it crashed to Earth and thrust itself into volatile human affairs? And what happened to the human beings whose lives were upended by this rarest of rare events?Thanks to our guests: Dr. Julia Cartwright, planetary scientist at the University of Alabama; Billy Field, professor at the University of Alabama and screenwriter; and Julie Love Templeton, attorney in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.Dr. Cartwright is involved in a number of art/science collaborations to engage and educate the public about meteorites and planetary science. You can find out more on her website, JACartwright.people.ua.edu. Keep an eye out for Billy Field’s latest project, TheStoryAcorn.com, which launches in January 2023. The website will feature history from the Civil Rights movement, told by those who lived it. The website teaches students to gather stories from their own communities and share them with the world. Thanks also to Mary Beth Prondzinski, former collections manager at the Alabama Museum of Natural History, and to the Alabama Museum of Natural History.