Big History - From the Big Bang until Today

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Description

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About this course: Welcome to this Big History course! In this course, renowned scientists and scholars from the University of Amsterdam and beyond will take you on a journey from the Big Bang until today while addressing key questions in their fields. After completing this journey you will have developed a better understanding of how you and everything around you became the way they are today. You will also have gained an understanding of the underlying mechanisms that have helped shape the history of everything and how they wil help shape the future. Last but not least, you will have developed the skill to use this knowledge to put smaller subjects into a bigger perspective with the a…

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When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: Welcome to this Big History course! In this course, renowned scientists and scholars from the University of Amsterdam and beyond will take you on a journey from the Big Bang until today while addressing key questions in their fields. After completing this journey you will have developed a better understanding of how you and everything around you became the way they are today. You will also have gained an understanding of the underlying mechanisms that have helped shape the history of everything and how they wil help shape the future. Last but not least, you will have developed the skill to use this knowledge to put smaller subjects into a bigger perspective with the aid of the little big history approach, which can help you develop some new ideas on these smaller subjects.

Who is this class for: This course is aimed at anyone who would like to learn more about how the universe, Earth, life and human societies emerged and developed, and how this knowledge can help us gain a better understanding of the present and the future.

Created by:  University of Amsterdam
  • Taught by:  Esther Quaedackers, Lecturer in Big History

    Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies - Faculty of Science
Level Beginner Commitment 4 weeks of study, 3-5 hours/week Language English, Subtitles: Spanish How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.8 stars Average User Rating 4.8See what learners said Coursework

Each course is like an interactive textbook, featuring pre-recorded videos, quizzes and projects.

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University of Amsterdam A modern university with a rich history, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) traces its roots back to 1632, when the Golden Age school Athenaeum Illustre was established to train students in trade and philosophy. Today, with more than 30,000 students, 5,000 staff and 285 study programmes (Bachelor's and Master's), many of which are taught in English, and a budget of more than 600 million euros, it is one of the largest comprehensive universities in Europe. It is a member of the League of European Research Universities and also maintains intensive contact with other leading research universities around the world.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


Introduction



4 videos expand


  1. Video: How can we summarize 13.8 billion years in one brief course?
  2. Video: How big is big history?
  3. Video: What are little big histories?
  4. Video: Can big history reunify all our knowledge?


Cosmic History



9 videos, 2 readings expand


  1. Reading: A tour of cosmic history
  2. Video: Why do we think big history started with a Big Bang?
  3. Video: What are the elementary particles our universe is made of?
  4. Video: What are the fundamental forces that determine how our universe behaves?
  5. Video: Is our Standard Model of elementary particles and fundamental forces complete?
  6. Video: Why are massive stars so important to us?
  7. Video: How do stars die?
  8. Video: What does our cosmic neighbourhood look like?
  9. Video: Does our Solar System have a history?
  10. Video: What is underlying all of big history?
  11. Reading: Little Big History Example Connections
  12. Peer Review: Practice little big history assignment 1

Graded: Cosmic history

WEEK 2


The History of Earth and Life



10 videos, 2 readings expand


  1. Reading: A tour of the history of Earth and life
  2. Video: How did life emerge on Earth?
  3. Video: How did evolution lead to the incredible diversity of life we see around us?
  4. Video: Why do species look the way they do and how are they all related?
  5. Video: How did life develop on the early Earth?
  6. Video: What happened on our planet during mass extinctions?
  7. Video: Why has our Earth cooled over the past millions of years?
  8. Video: How can understanding the evolution of the brain help us understand human history?
  9. Video: How did brain evolution lead to the development of our consciousness?
  10. Video: Can we understand the evolution of our species without the aid of sexual selection?
  11. Video: Can we develop a theory of the biosphere?
  12. Reading: Little Big History Example Connections
  13. Peer Review: Practice little big history assignment 2

Graded: The history of Earth and life

WEEK 3


Human History



15 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Reading: A tour of human history
  2. Video: Why did people start to farm?
  3. Video: Can big history tell us something new about the emergence of agriculture?
  4. Video: What is the use of religion in the history of our species?
  5. Video: Why did states, writing and state religion emerge together?
  6. Video: How are civilizations influenced by climate change?
  7. Video: When did globalization begin and what did it mean to different people across the globe?
  8. Video: How was life in Europe affected by early globalization?
  9. Video: What made industrial production possible?
  10. Video: What are the main consequences of the Industrial Revolution?
  11. Video: What have been the consequences of the Industrial Revolution for our environment?
  12. Video: How is our international financial system developing?
  13. Video: How are financial institutions affecting society?
  14. Video: How is artificial intelligence developing?
  15. Video: How will artificial intelligence influence your future?
  16. Video: Can we construct a theory of human history?
  17. Peer Review: Practice little big history assignment 3

Graded: Human history

WEEK 4


Wrap up



2 videos expand


  1. Video: What will the future of life, Earth and our universe look like?
  2. Video: What can big history tell us about the short term future?

Graded: Final little big history assignment
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