The Origin and Evolution of Earth : The Great Courses: History of Science

  • by The Great Courses, Robert M. Hazen
  • Narrated by Professor Robert M. Hazen
  • Series: The Great Courses: History of Science
  • 25 hrs and 15 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

This course chronicles the history of Earth and life on Earth from the point of view of the minerals that made it all happen. A major theme is how minerals and life coevolved, leading to the unprecedented mineral diversity on our world compared to the other planets in the solar system. Professor Hazen tells this epic story in 48 action-packed lectures that take you from the big bang to the formation of the solar system to the major milestones that marked the evolution of Earth and life. He also looks ahead at what to expect millions to billions of years in the future.
It's easy to think that the green Earth dominated by life that we experience today is just as it's always been. But Professor Hazen introduces you to a succession of starkly different Earths, starting with the black, basalt-covered planet of 4.5 billion years ago, and progressing through blue, gray, red, and white phases as Earth, minerals, and life developed in concert.
Major episodes covered in these lectures include the formation of the moon from the collision of a Mars-sized body with the early Earth; the Great Oxidation Event, which was sparked by the earliest photosynthetic life and is responsible for Earth's iron and other important mineral deposits; the formation of the first continents; the start of plate tectonics more than 3 billion years ago; the repeating cycles of supercontinent formation; the Cambrian explosion of life, resulting in the first animal shells, bones, and teeth; the great episodes of mass extinction, including the dinosaurs; and the rise of humans - along with much else.
Most impressively, Professor Hazen is a pioneer in the study of mineral evolution, which is a unique lens through which to view the development of Earth. He tells the story with authority and with a rare gift for making you see the world in a new, intriguing way.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


What made the experience of listening to The Origin and Evolution of Earth the most enjoyable?

This course encompasses cosmology, geology, evolution all through the eyes of a mineralogist. Professor Hazen's enthusiasm for his subject is infectious although the non specialist (me) can get lost in some of the detailed reasoning behind various theories described and struggle with lists of elements and minerals the author details. When I have another spare 24 hours I intend to listen to this book again.

What does Professor Robert M. Hazen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

His breathless and excitable presentation!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


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- Patrick

Fascinating lectures

The lectures are full of interesting facts and concepts. Lecturer is enthusiastic and very easy to listen to. The lectures follow on nicely from each other and have been put together very well. Would highly recommend.
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- Nathalie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-11-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses