A Most Improbable Journey

A Most Improbable Journey

A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves

Book - 2017 | First edition.
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"Famed geologist Walter Alvarez expands our view of human history by revealing the cosmic, geologic, and evolutionary forces that have shaped us. Big History, the field that studies the entire known past of our universe to give context to human existence, has so far been the domain of historians. In The Little Book of Big History, geologist Walter Alvarez--best known for his 'Impact Theory' explaining dinosaur extinction--makes a compelling case for a new, science-first approach to Big History. He brings a scientist's view to the human story, from the creation of our universe and our planet, the rise of life, the movement of our continents and its effect on human migration, to humanity's ascendance due to our mastery of Earth's natural resources. Alvarez's illuminating observations and stories will give readers a new appreciation of the events, from the Big Bang to the Bronze Age and beyond, that have led to the human situation. Through entertaining, bite-sized chapters, The Little Book of Big History will send readers out in a thousand different directions to learn more"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780393292695
039329269X
Branch Call Number: 550 ALVAR
Characteristics: 246 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm

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rationallady
Feb 04, 2017

On one level this is an easy short book reviewing the science of our existence from the perspectives of cosmology, geology, and biology and also human history. The author introduces the importance of contingency or unpredictable chance in our history. The chance that a large meteor would cross Earth's path and cause the impact that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs and rise of mammals was improbable. Without the evolution of trilobite eyes, shelled animals-our fossils-might not have developed at that time. The Spanish armada was in part defeated by a wind that happened to be blowing the right direction one night, and so we speak English.

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