June 21, 2013 – Big History

My guest on this program is David Christian, author of Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History. Big history is an interdisciplinary approach that surveys the past at all possible scales, from conventional history, to the much larger scales of biology and geology, to the universal scales of cosmology. It weaves a single story, stretching from the origins of the Universe to the present day and beyond, using accounts of the past developed within disciplines usually studied quite separately. Big history provides a map of our place in space and time, using the insights and knowledge of modern science. Professor Christian has also recorded a series of lectures, titled “Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity,” produced by The Teaching Company. (The DVDs are available from the Mendocino County Library.) He has also been working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish the Big History Project online, which will provide a free online high school course in Big History. It is expected to go live in October, 2013, when it will be available to everyone. It is currently closed and available only to previously registered beta testers.

Authors Mentioned on the Program:

Eric Chaisson, Cosmic Evolution: The Rise of Complexity in Nature
Eric Chaisson, Epic of Evolution: Seven Ages of the Cosmos
Lynn Margulis & Dorion Sagan, Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution
Eric Wolf, Europe and the People Without History