This course chronicles the history of Earth and life on Earth from the point of view of the minerals that made it all happen. A major theme is how minerals and life coevolved, leading to the unprecedented mineral diversity on our world compared to the other planets in the solar system. Professor Hazen tells this epic story in 48 action-packed lectures that take you from the big bang to the formation of the solar system to the major milestones that marked the evolution of Earth and life. He also looks ahead at what to expect millions to billions of years in the future.
It's easy to think that the green Earth dominated by life that we experience today is just as it's always been. But Professor Hazen introduces you to a succession of starkly different Earths, starting with the black, basalt-covered planet of 4.5 billion years ago, and progressing through blue, gray, red, and white phases as Earth, minerals, and life developed in concert.
Major episodes covered in these lectures include the formation of the moon from the collision of a Mars-sized body with the early Earth; the Great Oxidation Event, which was sparked by the earliest photosynthetic life and is responsible for Earth's iron and other important mineral deposits; the formation of the first continents; the start of plate tectonics more than 3 billion years ago; the repeating cycles of supercontinent formation; the Cambrian explosion of life, resulting in the first animal shells, bones, and teeth; the great episodes of mass extinction, including the dinosaurs; and the rise of humans - along with much else.
Most impressively, Professor Hazen is a pioneer in the study of mineral evolution, which is a unique lens through which to view the development of Earth. He tells the story with authority and with a rare gift for making you see the world in a new, intriguing way.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2013 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2013 The Great Courses
This course encompasses cosmology, geology, evolution all through the eyes of a mineralogist. Professor Hazen's enthusiasm for his subject is infectious although the non specialist (me) can get lost in some of the detailed reasoning behind various theories described and struggle with lists of elements and minerals the author details. When I have another spare 24 hours I intend to listen to this book again.
His breathless and excitable presentation!
The lectures are full of interesting facts and concepts. Lecturer is enthusiastic and very easy to listen to. The lectures follow on nicely from each other and have been put together very well. Would highly recommend.
I am a middle aged man living in London. I am interested in History, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, other fiction with good plots.
Prof. Haven is a brilliant communicator. The truth is that before listening to these lectures I had imagined the subject to be boring. I was persuaded by a friend to try a lecture or two. I am so glad that I did. Haven takes you on a journey from the beginning of the universe to the present and even into a speculative future. The key thesis that life and the mineral world have evolved and co-evolved is brilliantly communicated. I enjoyed every lecture.
By far the best. As a professional geologist I was amazed at how accessible he made some of the more difficult concepts of geology. He also demonstrated very clearly the two-way relationship that the geosphere and biosphere have with each other. Make no mistake, this is a long book, but definitely worth it.
From this single lecture series, you will have a very strong fundamental understanding of the physics of the early universe, stellar formation, the formation and evolution of the Earth's geology and geologic processes, and a good foundation of biological evolution. I read a lot of popular science magazines and books and there is not a single location where an educated layman could possible leave with so many concepts wound neatly together from various disciplines. It is masterful.
"Absolutely loved it"
On a subject that could be as dry as the very rocks he speaks about, the author brings this science alive and accessible to a lay audience. Each episode is fascinating and compelling and the delivery of the author is superb.
I was amazed to learn how sophisticated research tools have become so effective in uncovering the origins of our universe. As a physician I take for granted how our research tools are used in the study of life sciences--but never fully appreciated the close link between earth science and biology. Professor Hazan is a fabulous lecturer. His passion and enthusiasm is matched by his knowledge and creativity. Highly recommended.
"In depth & fasinating!"
Oh, yea!He is brilliant & interesting.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey by Carl Sagan.
He makes the most complicated theories sound like a suspense book!
Nope, but next month I'll get his Origins of Life
His voice, his excitement throughout.
Hazen's expertise in and love for his subject were clearly evident in these lectures. The subject matter was very new to me and while I will need to listen a second time to fully grasp much of the nuance of the concepts, I never thought I would find geology so interesting. I plan to seek out his "Origins of Life" course next. I highly recommend this course.
"Very Informative series,"
While detailed, it was very interesting and keep me engaged. I highly recommended this course to anyone interest in the origins of earth
This is one course that makes me want to listen to more courses by Professor Hazen. While I don't subscribe to some models he explains, it provided me with an alternative possibility of the history of the Earth.
"Dense, but flawed biology"
The topic is dense but fascinating, and I am not being tested on mineral names, so I feel free to forget them. But early in the chapter on bio minerals he makes a huge mistake, and this is the only bit of the book I know enough about to spots flaws in, so it is a bit worrying. He seems to be an expert mineralogist, but he said he was talked out of taking biology in undergrad, and well.
While talking about the origins of eukaryotes, he starts waxing enthusiastically about the endosymbiosis theory of the origin of the nucleus, which he claims is almost universally accepted. This is not true. It isn't even a common minority opinion. Anyway, the nucleus holds the DNA and is an unlikely spot for endosymbiosis.
The two membrane bound organelles widely thought to be endosymbiotic in origin are mitochondria and chloroplasts.
And this isn't a small slip up; he goes on about the importance of the nucleus and of endosymbiosis repeatedly.
Anyway, that is a small slip up in his larger argument, but a worrying one
"Three 5 star books in one"
Have not read the print version
Yes. Could not manage it all.
This includes the only complete and understandable description on how elements are made and thats just for starters. I am versed in much of this stuff but recommed the book to all comers.
"Lessons from the past"
Great book for understanding how changeable our planet has always been and how small changes can build up to create global scale events. Considering that the amount of CO2 we've been dumping in the atmosphere in a short period of time is unprecedented in Earth's history as far as science knows, we should be really worried about our future!
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.