How It Works

Watch How It Works

  • 2007
  • 1 Season
  • 8.0  (56)

How It Works is a captivating and educational TV series that explores the inner workings of the world's most fascinating objects and inventions. Hosted by the renowned materials scientist Mark Miodownik, the show features a team of expert engineers, designers, and technicians who dissect and explain the technology behind everything from planes and trains to smartphones and robots.

Each episode of How It Works focuses on a specific topic or theme, such as transportation, communication, entertainment, or health. The show uses a combination of informative graphics, engaging animations, and real-life examples to showcase the mechanisms, materials, and processes that make these devices and systems work. From the metallurgy of aircraft wings to the programming of autonomous drones, How It Works demystifies the complexity of modern technology and presents it in a digestible and entertaining manner.

One of the strengths of How It Works is its emphasis on hands-on experimentation and exploration. In addition to explaining the science behind certain inventions, the show often takes apart gadgets and machines to show viewers how they function from the inside. For instance, in one episode dedicated to smartphones, the hosts dismantle an iPhone and examine its various components, from the camera lens to the battery. They then show how these parts interact and collaborate to create the sleek and powerful device we know and love.

Another aspect of How It Works that sets it apart from similar shows is its attention to historical context. The series does not simply showcase the latest and greatest technologies, but also delves into the evolution and innovation of the devices and systems that preceded them. For example, in an episode about transport, the show compares and contrasts the early steam locomotives with the high-speed trains of today, demonstrating how advancements in materials, design, and engineering have transformed the way we travel.

The presentation style of How It Works is both captivating and accessible. The hosts, including Miodownik, Owen Bush, and Stuart Cook, have a passion for their subjects that is infectious and engaging. They use relatable analogies and visual aids to explain complex concepts, and their enthusiasm for the technology they explore is palpable. Whether viewers are technophiles or simply curious about how things work, they will find something to enjoy and learn from in this series.

Overall, How It Works is an excellent show for anyone interested in the mechanics and science behind modern technology. With its engaging hosts, comprehensive coverage of different topics, and emphasis on historical context and experimentation, the series is a must-watch for anyone who has ever wondered how the world works.

How It Works
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60. Chemistry
November 12, 2012
Chemistry is how science investigates what makes the world around us.
59. Forensics
November 5, 2012
We've all seen it on television, the glamorous forensic scientists solving case after case thanks to the incredible almost magic abilities of forensic investigation.
58. Math
October 29, 2012
This episode is all about the unsung hero of the science world, "Mathematics" which is the drive behind the engineering that makes the world tick.
Animal Behaviours
57. Animal Behaviours
October 22, 2012
The fascinating world of the honey bee, John finds out what makes the common honey bee tick and why their time may be running out.
56. Water
October 15, 2012
It's the very life force that powers the planet, water, and kiwis can sometimes take this commodity for granted and assume that there's plenty to go round.
55. Genetics
October 8, 2012
DNA, the little molecules inside ever cell that keep us alive and growing, some could say the fundamental building blocks of life.
Mysteries of the Deep
54. Mysteries of the Deep
October 1, 2012
It makes up two thirds of the planet we live on but how much do we really know about our Oceans and their inhabitants?
53. Cancer
September 24, 2012
How do you make a more effective, less toxic anti cancer drug?
Virtual Worlds
52. Virtual Worlds
September 17, 2012
How virtual worlds being created by our kiwi scientists are helping in our real world by revolutionising entertainment, medical research and sports?
51. Brains
September 10, 2012
The human brain, it may feel like tofu and look a lot like a walnut but ultimately it's what's responsible for keeping us alive and functioning.
New Energy Technology & Alternative Energy Sources
50. New Energy Technology & Alternative Energy Sources
September 3, 2012
This week we tackle the pressing issue of what we can do to break away from our dependence on imported liquid transport fuels.
Mapping NZ's Biodiversity
49. Mapping NZ's Biodiversity
August 27, 2012
This week we're heading underground to discover what part paleontology and archeology play in understanding just who we are as a country and where we might be heading in the future.
Mans Impact On the Atmosphere
48. Mans Impact On the Atmosphere
August 20, 2012
In this weeks enlightening episode we uncover the impact that humankind and industrialization are having on our earth's atmosphere.
Kiwis in Space
47. Kiwis in Space
August 13, 2012
In this weeks explosive episode we're looking upwards, way, way up, beyond the clouds, the stars and our very own galaxy.
What Science & Technology Is Doing to Assist Our Fashion & Textile Industries
46. What Science & Technology Is Doing to Assist Our Fashion & Textile Industries
August 6, 2012
Through a series of insightful interviews and cleverly constructed field trials our country leading experts reveal just what the latest advances in science and technology are doing to aid and abet our burgeoning fashion and textile industries.
How Science & Technology Is Aiding Medical Research
45. How Science & Technology Is Aiding Medical Research
July 30, 2012
In this episode host John Watt discovers just what the latest advances in science and technology are doing to assist the unwell and infirm citizens of our Nation.
What Science Is Doing to Predict Natural Disasters
44. What Science Is Doing to Predict Natural Disasters
July 23, 2012
In this episode host John Watt tackles the titans of Mother Nature: the earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes that have shaped the very bedrock of New Zealand.
What Science Is Doing for the Future of Food
43. What Science Is Doing for the Future of Food
July 16, 2012
In this episode host John Watt takes us out of the cafes and kitchens and into the laboratory to discover how science is not only changing but also shaping the foods of the future.
What Science Is Doing to Tackle Air Pollution
42. What Science Is Doing to Tackle Air Pollution
July 9, 2012
In this episode we take you behind the scenes to look at what kiwi science is doing to tackle air pollution and the effects it is having on our health.
How Is Science Is Impacting Our Physical Performance
41. How Is Science Is Impacting Our Physical Performance
July 2, 2012
In this episode we are looking at how science is changing the way we look at physical endurance, and the discoveries that could change our future for the better.
Episode 40
40. Episode 40
November 1, 2007
First in the show we take a look at what goes into making the useful pepper mill. Then we reveal the ancient art of Japanese drum making. Finally a look at how the ever handy kitchen item, cling film, is made.
Episode 39
39. Episode 39
October 25, 2007
In this show, How It Works looks at how designers study each new race car to create the ever popular scalectrix models. Find out how fine olive oil is produced. Finally we reveal how pyrex glass can stand the heat when other glass would shatter.
Episode 38
38. Episode 38
October 18, 2007
In today's episode How It Works takes a look at how the technical ice hockey skate is made. We also follow the production of stripey toothpaste. Plus we see how favorite sweet snack, chocolate, is made.
Episode 37
37. Episode 37
October 11, 2007
In today's episode, How It Works takes a look at how an ordinary mirror is made. Find out how violin strings are made out of lamb's intestines and what exactly goes into making a delicious piece of shortbread.
Episode 36
36. Episode 36
October 4, 2007
Find out how bullet-proof vests are made. We also look at how the all important steel safety barriers are put together to keep us safe on the motorway. Plus a look at how chewing gum can help prevent cavities, and see how the handy bicycle pump is made.
Episode 35
35. Episode 35
September 26, 2007
We take a close look at the manufacture of the seat belt and how it saves lives. Next, a look at the scented bowling ball. We explain what goes into that melt in your mouth pastry, the croissant. Plus a look at how an all-natural hair brush is made.
Episode 34
34. Episode 34
September 19, 2007
First in this show, find out that vital tool the shopping trolley is put together. Then it's time to take a look at how the modern chain saw developed and is manufactured. Discover the benefits of Britain's favourite berry, the strawberry.
Episode 33
33. Episode 33
September 12, 2007
First in this show we take a look at how cannula are made. Cannula are a type of needle used to administer drugs or IV drips to patients.
Episode 32
32. Episode 32
September 5, 2007
Discover how fluorescent light bulbs are made. Then we take a look at how a modern shovel is put together. Plus we reveal how toxic by-products are stored to keep us all safe, and exactly what goes in to making a baby's disposable nappy.
Episode 31
31. Episode 31
August 29, 2007
In this episode, How It Works finds out exactly how secure our bikes are, with a look a heavy-duty steel bike lock being produced. Also, it's time to shine a light on the mass manufacture of tea-candles.
Episode 30
30. Episode 30
August 22, 2007
In this show, see how a team of skilled glassblowers and amazing robots make glassware for science labs around the world. Then find out how a factory that makes flat pack shelves makes sure that they all fit together perfectly.
Episode 29
29. Episode 29
August 15, 2007
In this episode of How It Works we take a look at how a regular car is converted into a stretched limousine; How high tech hiking boots are made from scratch. And we explain the production process behind the toughest grip, the humble wall plug.
Episode 28
28. Episode 28
August 8, 2007
In this show, see the making of world famous electric guitars. Find out how tampons are actually made and go behind the scenes at a radiator factory. Plus visit a farm and see the growth cycle of asparagus.
Episode 27
27. Episode 27
August 1, 2007
Today's episode takes a look at paper recycling. Everything from padded envelopes to glossy magazines are sent to be recycled. The various types of paper must be sorted.
Episode 26
26. Episode 26
July 25, 2007
First in this show is the complicated process of refrigeration. Then we take you on a journey looking at the design and manufacture involved in putting together a bobsleigh. Plus a look at how the humble Wellington boot and everyday rubbish bin are made.
Episode 25
25. Episode 25
July 19, 2007
In today's episode, How It Works gets its leathers on as we look at how Harley Davidson's are made, and we look at how the luxury leather chair goes from drawing board to your living room.
Episode 24
24. Episode 24
July 12, 2007
In today's episode, How It Works finds out how both German beer and Brooks saddles are made, along with the high-tech world of DVD and Tupperware production.
Episode 23
23. Episode 23
July 5, 2007
In today's show, How It Works looks at the radical transformation from coconut husk to doormat and also we take a look at environmental ways of saving money on petrol and putting old tires to use.
Episode 22
22. Episode 22
June 28, 2007
In today's episode, How It Works takes a gamble and discovers how fruit machines are made. Also, a look at how a basic block of ice can be transformed into a striking sculpture.
Episode 21
21. Episode 21
June 21, 2007
In this first episode, How It Works looks at the design and manufacture of bicycle helmets and the iconic Zippo lighter. Plus a look at tailor made suits and the modern production of a delicious...
Episode 20
20. Episode 20
June 13, 2007
In the twentieth episode, How It Works discovers the amazing processes involved with turning milk into the world famous Parmesan cheese, and learns more about the sophisticated, anti-fraud technology hidden within the 2 Euro coin.
Episode 19
19. Episode 19
June 6, 2007
In the nineteenth episode, How It Works follows the dedicated efforts of a group of car restorers as they rebuild a classic 1970's Jaguar Coupe.
Episode 18
18. Episode 18
May 30, 2007
In the eighteenth episode, How It Works finds out how supermarkets can transport bananas all around the world, but still get them onto the supermarket shelves just when they ripen.
Episode 17
17. Episode 17
May 23, 2007
In the seventeenth episode, How It Works discover the secrets behind the everyday AA battery and how it works. And we learn how maple syrup is made from the sap of thousands of Canadian maple trees.
Episode 16
16. Episode 16
May 16, 2007
In the sixteenth episode, How It Works watches the in-depth cooking process involved in making tasty Tortilla chips, and we learn about the fascinating processes involved in making a genuine cowboy hat.
Episode 15
15. Episode 15
May 9, 2007
In this, the fifteenth episode of How It Works we take a closer look at the handmade spring roll from China and we follow the high-tech construction processes involved in the development and construction of a brand new design of ski goggles.
Episode 14
14. Episode 14
May 2, 2007
First in this show, find out how a diamond drill cuts out a contact lens to fit a patient's eye to perfection, and then see how a team of workers race against the clock to resurface the tarmac on an airport runway.
Episode 13
13. Episode 13
April 25, 2007
First in this show, we see the state of the art production line which churns out mobile phones. Then, discover how scaffolders in Hong Kong build colossal towers - out of bamboo and plastic straps!
Episode 12
12. Episode 12
April 18, 2007
First in this show is an amazing machine which harvests dead trees from the bottom of lakes and reservoirs. Then we go to India to discover the secrets of making the right blend for a perfect cup of tea.
Episode 11
11. Episode 11
April 11, 2007
First in this show is the complicated process of building a simple but sturdy object, the padlock. Then we take the plunge to show you how the largest mobile log flume in the world is built.
Episode 10
10. Episode 10
April 5, 2007
Today's episode begins by looking at the single-unit production of pool tables. The first stage is the sawing of the plywood side panels, followed by the construction of the frame and the fitting of the rubber cushions.
Episode 9
9. Episode 9
March 29, 2007
Today's episode begins with the manufacture of corkscrews. The parts are all made separately, starting with the bell which is made from zinc and ground by a finishing machine.
Episode 8
8. Episode 8
March 22, 2007
In today's episode, How It Works looks at the creation of toilets: a process that starts with the soft mineral gypsum, which is used to make the molds themselves.
Episode 7
7. Episode 7
March 15, 2007
Today's episode looks at the tall task of constructing a skyscraper. Steel struts form the frame of the building and are surrounded by enormous steel towers, crossbars are then fitted, and the process is repeated level by level and welded into place.
Episode 6
6. Episode 6
March 8, 2007
In today's episode, How It Works looks at the birth of a book. This frantic process begins with a CD-ROM of the book that is then transferred to a chrome printing plate onto which the letters of the text are imprinted in copper.
Episode 5
5. Episode 5
February 28, 2007
This episode of How It Works looks at the economical process of making bikinis. The first stages are a computer design and the testing of both the potential fabrics and the fasteners.
Episode 4
4. Episode 4
February 21, 2007
In today's episode, How It Works looks at the production of charcoal. 25 tons of wood is dried in a huge silo and then heated in an alembic until it becomes carbonized.
Episode 3
3. Episode 3
February 14, 2007
Today's episode starts with a peek behind the scenes of the fashion industry. In a designer jeans factory a cutting pattern is plotted out on a computer and then up to 20 layers of denim are cut out with an electric saw.
Episode 2
2. Episode 2
February 7, 2007
This episode starts with the story of how a pile of aluminum tubes is handcrafted into a customized mountain bike.
Episode 1
1. Episode 1
January 31, 2007
This first episode begins with a close look at the design, manufacture and mass production of a wine glass.
  • Premiere Date
    January 31, 2007
  • IMDB Rating
    8.0  (56)