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Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity cover art

Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity

By: David Christian, The Great Courses
Narrated by: David Christian
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Summary

How is it possible for the disciplines of cosmology, geology, anthropology, biology, and history to fit together? These 48 lectures answer that question by weaving a single story from accounts of the past developed by a variety of scholarly disciplines. The result is a story stretching from the origins of the universe to the present day and beyond, in which human history is seen as part of the history of our Earth and biosphere, and the Earth's history, in turn, is seen as part of the history of the universe.

Like traditional creation stories told by the world's great religions and mythologies, this lecture series provides a map of our place in space and time. But it does so using the insights and knowledge of modern science, as synthesized by a renowned historian. While you may have heard parts of this story before in courses on geology, history, anthropology, biology, cosmology, and other scholarly disciplines, Professor Christian provides more than just a recap of those disciplines. "Because of the scale on which we look at the past, you should not expect to find in it many of the familiar details, names, and personalities that you'll find in other types of historical teaching and writing," he explains. "For example, the French Revolution and the Renaissance will barely get a mention. They'll zoom past in a blur. You'll barely see them. Instead, what we're going to see are some less familiar aspects of the past. We'll be looking, above all, for the very large patterns, the shape of the past.

"Prepare yourself for a journey through time and across space, from the first moments of existence to the distant reaches of the far future.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses

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Drawn out in places but excellent.

There is a section in the middle that I found a little drawn out describing the emergence of human civilisations. However, I bought the series knowing that it was a big time investment and I was very satisfied overall.

The description of the big bang and star formation was particularly fascinating.

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The chronology of everything, as a series of lectures.

As good story told by an academic about everything that ever happened. Really interesting. Well worth a listen.

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See the biggest picture!

Fascinating approach to a framework for all knowledge as history for citizens of the modern revolution of the planet Earth.

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Excellent context to all the other Great Courses

If you could sum up Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity in three words, what would they be?

A story from the Big Bang to today in an attempt to determine the most significant trends and events during these 13.7 billion years.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I think these questions need updating by Amazon for Great Courses

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13.7 Billion Years in 24 Hours, 25 Minutes!

This is yet another excellent series of lectures from The Great Courses. Professor Christian brings a wealth of learning to bear on the history of the Universe to date and he conveys the information in an easily understood manner. He has a very good speaking voice and is a pleasure to listen to. Each lecture is approximately 30 minutes long and is thus easily digested but I have to say I found myself usually listening to two or more at a time as they are so interesting. Highly recommended. One of the best audiobook purchases I've made.

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A journey through the cosmos to our modern lives

With a clear narration throughout, you are led on a journey through the entire history of our universe, from the big bang, supernovas and the mysteries of gravity, to the creation of life, evolution and modern society.

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Great content delivered by a great lecturer

I loved this series of lectures. Superbly written and delivered and we'll worth my audible subscription fee. A big thank you to professor Christian and merry Christmas

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Forget the trees Look at the forests

This is my first exposure to Big History. The weaving of the strands of various academic disciplines into one constructive narrative makes such sense that I wish every school would start by teaching history this way.
Certainly every politician and leading businessman should be obliged to listen to at least the section on The Modern Era.
I highly recommend the book.

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Want to know the rules that govern the universe?

What did you like most about Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity?

This is a truly brilliant course, full of intriguing and illuminating ideas - worth every penny. Great courses are not all great! But this one is. I'd recommend it without hesitation, and I'd suggest that you listen to a sample in each case before buying. The voice matters - as you will be doing a lot of listening to the same one!

Who was your favorite character and why?

I've always been keen on history and astronomy but this has increased my enthusiasm and knowledgeability by a hundred fold.

What does Professor David Christian bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

David Christian is a first rate lecturer - clear, concise, presents information in bulletin points with a follow up explanation of each. And makes it all seem worth knowing. Catch myself saying, "oh, so that's what it is!" every lecture.

Any additional comments?

This type of learning works really well as an audio presentation. I like using my free time for listening to something with potential - have probably listened to hundreds of books that I never would have tackled on a printed sheet.

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a transdiciplinary approach to history

I really liked the big history course. I did not learn about any "events" but the perspective was really interesting. I think we need more of this new perspective on history. We need more history with a transdiciplinary approach that include science. We need also more history that talks about humanity as a whole and global trends rather than dividing history into different nation states.

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