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TTC - Big History--The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of
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TTC - Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity
The Teaching Company
(48 lectures, 30 minutes/lecture)
Course No. 8050

Imagine you are traveling through time. Consider the following episodes:

    * At 13.7 billion years ago, the Universe suddenly appears, growing from the size of an atom to the size of a galaxy in a fraction of a second.
    * At 10 billion years ago, hydrogen atoms and helium atoms fuse at the center of a supernova to create the building blocks of the physical world.
    * At 4.6 billion years ago, a cloud of matter collapses to produce a star?our Sun. Earth and the other planets in our solar system form out of the remaining bits of matter swirling around the new star.
    * At 67 million years ago, an asteroid collides with the Earth, wiping out the dinosaurs, and leaves territory open for the rise of a minor order of organisms, the early mammals.
    * At 100,000?60,000 years ago, a species of hominines?bipedal ape-like creatures? begins to move out of its home territory in Africa and into the Asian continent.
    * Today, the descendants of those first hominines?homo sapiens?live in nearly every ecological niche. We fly through the air in planes, communicate instantaneously over immense distances, and develop theories about the creation of the Universe.

Each of these scenarios is just one episode in an ever-evolving story: the history of everything. It's a story you'll hear?in its monumental entirety?in Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity.

Taught by historian David Christian, Big History offers a unique opportunity to view human history in the context of the many histories that surround it. Over the course of 48 thought-provoking lectures, he'll serve as your guide as you traverse the sweeping expanse of cosmic history?13.7 billion years of it?starting with the big bang and traveling through time and space to the present moment.

A Grand Synthesis of Knowledge

Have you ever wondered: How do various scholarly discourses?cosmology, geology, anthropology, biology, history?fit together?

Big History answers that question by weaving a single story from a variety of scholarly disciplines. Like traditional creation stories told by the world's great religions and mythologies, Big History 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.

This is a story scholars have been able to tell only since the middle of the last century, thanks to the development of new dating techniques in the mid-1900s. As Professor Christian explains, this story will continue to grow and change as scientists and historians accumulate new knowledge about our shared past.

Eight "Thresholds"

To tell this epic, Professor Christian organizes the history of creation into eight "thresholds." Each threshold marks a point in history when something truly new appeared and forms never before seen began to arise.

Starting with the first threshold, the creation of the Universe, Professor Christian traces the developments of new, more complex entities, including:

    * The creation of the first stars (threshold 2)
    * The origin of life (threshold 5)
    * The development of the human species (threshold 6)
    * The moment of modernity (threshold 8).

In the final lectures, you'll even gain a glimpse into the future as you review speculations offered by scientists about where our species, our world, and our Universe may be heading.

Getting the "Big" Picture

While you may have heard parts of this story before in courses on geology, history, anthropology, biology, cosmology, and other scholarly disciplines, Big History provides more than just a recap. This course will expand the scope of your perspective on the past and alter the way you think about history and the world around you.

"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," explains Professor Christian. "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."

Thanks to this grand perspective, you'll uncover the remarkable parallels and connections among disciplines that remain to be explored when you view history on a large scale. How is the creation of stars like the building of cities? How is the big bang like the invention of agriculture? These are the kinds of connections you'll find yourself pondering as you undergo the grand shift in perspective afforded by Big History.

Fascinating Facts

Along the way, you'll encounter intriguing tidbits that put the grand scale of this story in perspective, such as:

    * The entire expanse of human civilization?5,000 years?makes up a mere 2 percent of the human experience.
    * Approximately 98 percent of human history occurred before the invention of agriculture.
    * All the matter we know of in the Universe is likely to be no more than 1 billionth of the actual matter that was originally created.
    * The Earth's Moon was probably created by a collision between the young Earth and a Mars-sized protoplanet.
    * At present, we cannot drill deeper than about 7 miles into the Earth, which is just 0.2% of the distance to the center (4,000 miles away).
    * Between 1000 C.E. and 2000 C.E., human populations rose by a factor of 24.
    * Traveling in a jet plane, it would take 5 million years to get from our solar system to the next nearest star.

The Story We Tell about Ourselves

"To understand ourselves," says Professor Christian, "we need to know the very large story, the largest story of all." And that, perhaps, is one of the greatest benefits of Big History: It provides a thought-provoking way to help us understand our own place within the Universe.

From humankind's place within the context of evolutionary history to our impact on the larger biosphere?both now and in our species' past?this course offers a broad yet nuanced examination of our place in creation. It also poses a profound question: Is it possible that our species is the only entity created by the Universe with the capacity to ponder its mysteries?

There is, perhaps, no more profound question to ask, and no better guide on this quest for understanding than Professor Christian. A pioneer in this approach to understanding history, Professor Christian has made big history his personal project for more than two decades. Working with experts in a variety of fields, he designed and taught some of the first big history courses, and has published widely on the topic.

Accept his invitation to get the big picture on Big History, and prepare for a journey through time and across space, from the first moments of existence to the distant reaches of the far future.

David Christian, D.Phil.
Professor of History
San Diego State University
David Christian is Professor of History at San Diego State University, where he teaches courses on big history, world environmental history, Russian history, and the history of Inner Eurasia. From 1975 to 2000, he taught Russian history, European history, and world history at Macquarie University in Sydney.

Professor Christian was born in New York and grew up in Nigeria and Britain. He completed his B.A. in History at Oxford University, his M.A. in Russian History at The University of Western Ontario, and his D.Phil. in 19th-Century Russian History at Oxford University. As a graduate student, he spent a year in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) during the Brezhnev era.

In the late 1980s, Professor Christian developed an interest in understanding the past on very large scales. With the help of colleagues in astronomy, geology, biology, anthropology, and prehistory, he began an experimental history course that started with the origins of the Universe and ended in the present day. Within two years, after his students persuaded him that it was a shame not to deal with the future after studying 13 billion years of history in 13 weeks, he introduced a final lecture on prospects for the future. In 1992, he wrote an article describing this approach as ?big history.? The label seems to have stuck, as similar courses have independently appeared elsewhere, and there are now several courses in big history at European, Russian, Australian, and North American universities.

In addition, Professor Christian has written on the social and material history of 19th-century Russian peasantry, in particular on aspects of diet and the role of alcohol. In 1990, he completed a study of the role of vodka in Russian social, political, and economic life. Professor Christian?s recent publications include: Imperial and Soviet Russia: Power, Privilege and the Challenge of Modernity (Macmillan/St. Martin?s, 1997); A History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia, Vol. 1: Inner Eurasia from Prehistory to the Mongol Empire in The Blackwell History of the World (Blackwell, 1998); Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History (University of California Press, 2004), which won the 2005 World History Association Book Prize and has been translated into Spanish and Chinese; and This Fleeting World: A Short History of Humanity (Berkshire Publishing, 2007).

Professor Christian is a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities. He is Affiliates Chair for the World History Association and was one of the editors of the Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History. He also participated in the creation of the world history website World History for Us All (

Lecture One............ What Is Big History?
Lecture Two............ Moving across Multiple Scales
Lecture Three.......... Simplicity and Complexity
Lecture Four........... Evidence and the Nature of Science
Lecture Five........... Threshold 1?Origins of Big Bang Cosmology
Lecture Six............ How Did Everything Begin?
Lecture Seven.......... Threshold 2?The First Stars and Galaxies
Lecture Eight.......... Threshold 3?Making Chemical Elements
Lecture Nine........... Threshold 4?The Earth and the Solar System
Lecture Ten............ The Early Earth?A Short History
Lecture Eleven......... Plate Tectonics and the Earth?s Geography
Lecture Twelve......... Threshold 5?Life
Lecture Thirteen....... Darwin and Natural Selection
Lecture Fourteen....... The Evidence for Natural Selection
Lecture Fifteen........ The Origins of Life
Lecture Sixteen........ Life on Earth?Single-celled Organisms
Lecture Seventeen...... Life on Earth?Multi-celled Organisms
Lecture Eighteen....... Hominines
Lecture Nineteen....... Evidence on Hominine Evolution
Lecture Twenty......... Threshold 6?What Makes Humans Different?
Lecture Twenty-One..... Homo sapiens?The First Humans
Lecture Twenty-Two..... Paleolithic Lifeways
Lecture Twenty-Three... Change in the Paleolithic Era
Lecture Twenty-Four.... Threshold 7?Agriculture
Lecture Twenty-Five.... The Origins of Agriculture
Lecture Twenty-Six..... The First Agrarian Societies
Lecture Twenty-Seven... Power and Its Origins
Lecture Twenty-Eight... Early Power Structures
Lecture Twenty-Nine.... From Villages to Cities
Lecture Thirty......... Sumer?The First Agrarian Civilization
Lecture Thirty-One..... Agrarian Civilizations in Other Regions
Lecture Thirty-Two..... The World That Agrarian Civilizations Made
Lecture Thirty-Three... Long Trends?Expansion and State Power
Lecture Thirty-Four.... Long Trends?Rates of Innovation
Lecture Thirty-Five.... Long Trends?Disease and Malthusian Cycles
Lecture Thirty-Six..... Comparing the World Zones
Lecture Thirty-Seven... The Americas in the Later Agrarian Era

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Lecture Thirty-Eight.. Threshold 8?The Modern Revolution
Lecture Thirty-Nine... The Medieval Malthusian Cycle, 500?1350
Lecture Forty.........The Early Modern Cycle, 1350?1700
Lecture Forty-One..... Breakthrough?The Industrial Revolution
Lecture Forty-Two..... Spread of the Industrial Revolution to 1900
Lecture Forty-Three... The 20th Century
Lecture Forty-Four.... The World That the Modern Revolution Made
Lecture Forty-Five.... Human History and the Biosphere
Lecture Forty-Six..... The Next 100 Years
Lecture Forty-Seven... The Next Millennium and the Remote Future
Lecture Forty-Eight... Big History?Humans in the Cosmos
Absolutely magnificent. Thank you.
Outstanding torrent. Thank you for promoting the pursuit of knowledge and spirituality. Understanding the Universe may be key to understanding the mind of God. Physicists and mathematicians might be at the pulpits and alters as they have a keen awareness of God's process. Many pastors, preachers, priests, etc. seem to take a very narrow and childish view of what may be, and what may be not. Anyway, your torrent is an asset to society.
Thanks for this amazing post. Really terrific.


The difference between preachers, priests and spirituality is vital. They mostly adhere to organized spirituality - better known as religion. It plays the most important role in telling people what they should and shouldn't do. It is a display of power. The spirituality promoted here is not organized in any way as I see it. It is freedom to think for yourself, without being told what to do. No social control! Just download what you think sounds nice. Knowledge and power are closely related, but telling people what they SHOULD do is never justified by any spiritual standards.

God is just ONE answer to the Why-question. There are numerous others.
All the fun of learning with none of the pain. You can absorb the information a lot better when you don't have to take a test at the end. BhangWalla has possibly lead to the education of more people than the TTC itself (who I hadn't heard of before coming to TPB), I went to their website and the prices are definitely not set for individuals.

A good accompaniment to this course is "Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations".
I'm a bit scared after having seen the comments in the bottom. An educational medium doesn't actually see god as a ligitimate explaination of the origin of the universe, right? Ohwell. I'll download this anyway. Who knows, you may just learn something new! :D (I probably will)
Thagrasklippare, ignore the two comments above mine, who knows what drugs they were on (assuming it is not the same person).
Correction - the two comments above my first post.
this aint religious in any way is it?
i mean its based on fact not fiction right?
i've listened to the first 36 lectures and it has no religion that i've seen
most of the time he points out that it's all theory and then tells us the evidence that supports it
He basically zooms in on "thresholds" of complexity starting with the universe and ending up with us and the increasingly complex world we have created. To do this he uses cosmology, biology, palaeontology, history, etc. so we get the history of the (known) universe from the beginning to the present day, with a possible "Malthusian cycle" hanging over our heads.
Had previously been presented by multiple lecturers when he was in Australia where he developed the course.
Highly recommended listening.
This is a truly fantastic torrent. Thank you BhangWalla.
It neatly consolidates many scientific disciplines such as cosmology, astronomy, chemistry and biology and weaves them into a brief and comprehensive account of pretty much every significant event since the Big Bang.
Its interdisciplinary nature gives it the power to show the big picture than any other specialized approach.
As a last note, the audio version seemingly has no drawback compared to the video version. So I'd recommend this one.
Of all the years I've been downloading, this stands as THE best torrent I've ever downloaded. I can't thank you enough!!!
i listened to the whole audio book. its nice. i only listen to audiobooks till the end if they draw me in and this one did.

it's not compliated material, maybe at times even too repetitive. but great nontheless.
It's all fake and none sense...

This is brainwashing pure and simple
WWW. figu . org
mcrary, you are an idiot of the highest order. I'm only surprised you are able to type. Fool
I strongly recommend people not share this. I got a DMCA letter from them. They will enforce protection of their copyrights. Their stuff is high quality but I chose to delete it all after I got the letter.
Great course.

Also available as video lecture here