Consider the big questions about our Universe, our planet, life, and humanity. From the Big Bang to modern day to where we are going in the future, Big History covers it all. About Image Community Questions 1. What Is Big History? Big History is an exciting course that tells the 13.8 billion year history of the Universe from the Big Bang to the present. Before we really dive into the core concepts of Big History, it’s important to get an overview of what Big History is and what you can expect from the course. Now is also a good time to get familiar with the Big History website. Ready to challenge your idea of what studying history is all about? 2. The Big Bang The Big Bang hasn’t always been the generally accepted explanation of how our Universe came to be. In fact, our views on the origin and structure of the Universe have changed drastically over the last thousand years. As new thinking and evidence have built upon one another, our understanding of the Universe has evolved. 3. Stars & Elements By 200 million years after the Big Bang, the Universe had become a very dark and cold place. Then things started to change. First, galaxies and nebulae formed. These were the earliest structures in the Universe. Then stars – “hot spots” of light and energy – emerged from these clouds of dust and gas. 4. Our Solar System & Earth Billowing clouds of matter spun around and around our young Sun, gradually forming just about everything in our Solar System – from meteors and asteroids to all the planets and moons. One planet in particular would enable the creation of even more remarkable complexity. 5. Life What makes life so special? Is there life elsewhere in the Universe? And how exactly did life emerge and diversify? In many ways these remain mysteries, but we do have enough evidence to explore some possible answers. 6. Early Humans Humans are unusual. We walk upright and build cities, we travel from continent to continent in hours, and we communicate across the globe in an instant. We alone can build bombs and invent medicines. Why can we do all these things that other creatures can’t? What makes us so different from other species? 7. Agriculture & Civilization If everyone had to survive as foragers, there wouldn't be nearly enough food to feed 7 billion people. Farming sustains us, and it's easy to assume it has always existed, but it hasn't. Humans invented agriculture. This altered our relationship with the Earth, drove population growth, and enabled the emergence of magnificent civilizations. 8. Expansion & Interconnection Early humans had pretty small social networks. At most, they probably met only a couple hundred people who probably all lived very similar lives to their own. As people started farming, these networks got larger. People were increasingly specialized in their work and trade. Populations in cities got larger. Trade reached across longer distances, bringing together people with very different lives and ways of thinking. 9. Acceleration Just 500 years ago, humans lived in four separate world zones, each with distinct cultures and technologies. Now, humanity is linked within one interconnected network of information and commerce that spans the entire planet. 10. The Future What does 13.8 billion years of history tell you about yourself? How does knowing so much about the past change the way you think about the future? These may be the most important questions big history asks. How would you answer them? Big History is an unfinished story.