The Hunley

Laura Pellicer

Go behind the glass with The State of Things producer Jennifer Brookland, whose picks for best segments of 2017 included conversations on a civil war mystery, an overhaul of higher education, and the efforts of a hustling young entrepreneur.

Host Frank Stasio talks with producer Jennifer Brookland about her favorite interviews she produced this year including conversations with Charlotte teacher Justin Ashley, food company founder Becky Holmes, UNC allergist Scott Commins, biomedical engineer Rachel Lance, ichthyologist Alex Dornburg, education visionary Cathy Davidson and author Shawn Wen. 

Scientist Rachel Lance poses with a replica she created of  the H.L. Hunley submarine.
Courtesy of Rachel Lance

On a winter evening in 1864, the H. L. Hunley became the first combat submarine to sink a warship. The vessel successfully sank its target but then disappeared along with its eight crew members. The Hunley was not found until 1995, when a number of hypotheses as to why it sank rose to the surface. But after hundreds of hours of calculations and experiments, a North Carolina-based naval engineer came up with a new theory: the Hunley sank itself with the blast it created by firing on the USS Housatonic.