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The history of our world in 18 minutes | David Christian


The history of our world in 18 minutes | David Christian

Backed by stunning illustrations, David Christian narrates a complete history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the Internet, in a riveting 18 minutes. This is Big History: an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity, life and humanity, set against our slim share of the cosmic timeline.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on, at

The history of our world in 18 minutes - David Christian

Backed by stunning illustrations, David Christian narrates a complete history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the Internet, in a riveting 18 minutes. This is Big History: an enlightening, wide-angle look at complexity, life and humanity, set against our slim share of the cosmic timeline.

Talk by David Christian.

The History of Everything - TED | Big History Project

David Christian gives a TED talk covering the Universe's 13.8 billion year history in 18 minutes.


David Christian The history of our world in 18 minutes


The History of Everything: Why do we need a Modern Origin Story? with David Christian

For more cool science visit
Is it possible to teach the history of everything? Why is today a momentous turning point in the history of planet earth? What are the most important challenges that will face humans in the next 50 years? Why are humans so different and so powerful?

We live at a momentous turning point in the history of planet earth. For the first time in 4 billion years, a single species is beginning to manage the planet. We cannot even see this challenge clearly within the siloized thinking that dominates knowledge and research today. To understand the huge challenges we will face in coming decades, we need to pan right back in order to see clearly how our planet has evolved along with its precious cargo of life, and to do that we need to understand how our universe has generated such fabulous complex systems. We need, in short, a modern origin story. David Christian will introduce that story (often known as big history) and show how a modern, science-based origin story can offer a clearer vision of where we are today and the momentous challenges that young people will face in coming decades.

F* yeah.

The Stages in Big History: David Christian at TEDxMacquarieUniversity

David Christian was born in New York, lived as a child in Nigeria, and went to school and University in England. He gained a doctorate in Russian history and came to Macquarie University to teach Russian and Soviet History. Since 1989 David has also taught a large first year course on 'big history.' The course surveys the history of everything, beginning with the big bang, continuing with the history of the earth and life on earth, and ending with a survey of the history of our species. It offers a cosmological perspective on human history. David is currently engaged in constructing a free on-line course on big history for high school students.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

This Fleeting World by David Christian

This is a lecture summary of David Christian's book, This Fleeting World. It is intended for use with my AP World History. It is NOT intended to replace the actual READING of the book.

David Christian, Inner Eurasia as a Unit of World History

This video is a brief discussion of David Christian's 1994 article, Inner Eurasia as a Unit of World History, which appeared in the Journal of World History.

The Big History Project - David Christian at Macquarie University

Colloquium Series 2012:

Professor David Christian from Macquarie University teaches an ambitious world history course that tells the tale of the entire universe -- from the Big Bang 13 billion years ago to present day.

David Christian is by training a historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, but since the 1980s he has become interested in world history on very large scales. He has written on the social and material history of the 19th-century Russian peasantry, in particular on aspects of diet and the role of alcohol. In 1989, he began teaching courses on Big History, surveying the past on the largest possible scales, including those of biology and astronomy.

Christian is a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Over the next few years he will also be working with the support of Bill Gates to create an online course in Big History for high school students.

What is Big History? | Big History Project

An introduction to Big History. David Christian discusses the types of questions Big History asks, and the scale at which we will try to answer them.


The history of our world (ビッグ・ヒストリー) Ⅰ

宇宙の時間軸を big history としてDavid Christian氏が話してくれます。

David Christian(TED)

#52: A Short Story of Everything - David Christian

Listen to the full episode here:

The universe is 13.8 billion years old and humans have existed for only 200,000 years. If that time span was a 360-foot-long pathway, we have been around for the last hair’s breadth. How do we make sense of this vastness?

Professor David Christian is an historian, best known as the founder of ‘Big History’ - a new, multidisciplinary field that frames our human story in the context of the cosmos, weaving a story from the Big Bang to today.

With Bill Gates, he is cofounder of the Big History Project, which teaches this new approach in schools across Australia and the US.

Joe caught up with David to discuss our shared origin story, the intellectual threads that combined to form Big History, and why this new approach may be the solvent to some of the tribalism and conflict of our times.

Show notes

Selected links

The Last Lion , William Manchester’s trilogy on Churchill

The Churchill Factor , by Boris Johnson

Churchill , by Paul Johnson

‘Specialization is for insects’ quote

The Idea of a University , by John Henry Newman

Follow David: Twitter

Origin Story , David’s new book

The Russian guy, Stanislav Petrov , who saved the world (and a short BBC interview with him)

Consilience - the ‘unity of all knowledge’; a great word to use at cocktail parties

Consilience , by Edward Wilson

Entropy - the second law of thermodynamics, and the ‘villain’ of David’s story

Earthrise photo

David’s TED talk

The Big History Project website

The Origin of Species , by Charles Darwin

Topics discussed

David’s childhood growing up on many continents, and how it gave him a cynicism about nationalism. [9:47]

The moment during the Cuban Missile Crisis when David realised the destructive potential of nuclear war. [11:36]

Preserving the light of consciousness. [15:40]

Why did David choose Russian history as his specialty? [16:50]

Did anything in Russian history prepare David for Big History? [21:43]

How Big History is a return to the way people were educated more than a century ago. [24:32]

Big History, a journey through the ‘eight thresholds’. [28:37]

The creation of Big History. [39:39]

How did David’s first students react to Big History? [44:47]

How Carl Jung influenced David’s approach to storytelling. [48:18]

What’s in a story? [51:51]

David’s definition of complexity. [53:46]

Big History’s other big influence - the French Annales school. [55:09]

Zoom out the lens. [59:20]

What does Big History bring to our intellectual toolkit that we were previously lacking? [59:54]

Why is someone who studies Big History less likely to take a tribal perspective? [1:03:03]

Big History is human-centric, but what about non-human animals? [1:05:18]

When David met Bill. [1:10:36]

The growth strategy of the Big History Project. [1:13:52]

What is Bill Gates like? [1:19:50]

Are there any books, on any topics, that David regularly revisits or rereads? [1:24:53]

This fleeting world: A short history of humanity by David Christian

Summary of the book: A short history of humanity.

The history of our world in 18 minutes

This is a snippet. For the full video, watch it at

Big History - "Maps of Time" by David Christian

You can find the mind map and image credits here:

Heartwarming by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (

The What and Why of Big History, a talk by David Christian

This lecture was part of a Metanexus symposium at the Harvard Club of New York on September 21, 2013.

Our Story in 1 Minute

Get the song on iTunes:
// A tapestry of footage tracing the cosmic and biological origins of our species, set to original music.
Also on Bandcamp:

Inspired by:

Video sources:

Through The Wormhole with Morgan Freeman
Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking
Do We Really Need the Moon? BBC
How Planet Earth Was Made
David Attenborough's First Life
Dinosaurs Alive
Journey to the Edge of the Universe
Last Day of the Dinosaurs
Walking With Cavemen
Human Planet
Mankind: The Story of All of Us
Hubble Ultra Deep Field
Wonders of the Universe
Quest for Fire
The Tree of Life

History of the World in Seven Minutes

An introduction video provided by World History For Us All.

Big History Anthropocene Conference – Big Historian Professor David Christian - Keynote Address

The human race has had such a profound impact on the climate and environment of the Earth that some have proposed we have entered a new geological era – the Anthropocene. Macquarie University’s Professor David Christian talks about how we can use the Big History framework to connect knowledge across disciplines and tackle the challenges of the Anthropocene. In this video, Professor Christian, pioneer of Big History and Director of the Big History Institute, introduces us to the new discipline Big History.

Learn more about Big History at Macquarie University here:

Big History: From the Big Bang to Us and the Future

Who are we? How did we get here? What does it all mean? After thousands of years trying, we can answer two of these big questions. Modern science has discovered a progressively factual account of the universe and ourselves. It spans some 13.7 billion years from the primordial flaring forth of the early universe to the rapid flaring forth of our global civilization. The story blends cosmology, physics, chemistry, geology, biology, anthropology, sociology, economics, and history into a single, compelling narrative. It encompasses all nations, all cultures, and all times.



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