Big History: A Biography of the Universe

Course Code: SCIE 222

Academic Year: 2021-2022

How did the Universe as we know it come to be? Atoms joined together to form molecules, which combined to form stars, which became solar systems, galaxies, and galaxy clusters. Eventually, living cells emerged on a planet called Earth (and perhaps others!). One branch of these lifeforms evolved into human beings with brains complex enough to unravel the mysteries of this creative process, pass this knowledge on to future generations, and in turn influence Earth's natural systems. In this course, students will learn about the development of the Universe from the Big Bang to the present conceived as a series of thresholds of increasing complexity - the Big Bang, the stars lighting up, the birth of chemistry, the formation of the solar system, the rise of life, collective learning, agriculture, and the dawn of industry and the communication age. Through weekly discussions, tests, and independent assignments, they will examine how natural processes and human culture are interrelated, and critically examine how knowledge about them was constructed. This course is for students without a mathematics or science background.