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The Origin and Evolution of Earth Lecture

The Origin and Evolution of Earth: From the Big Bang to the Future of Human Existence

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.
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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.

©2013 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2013 The Great Courses

What Members Say

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  •  
    Blokoe_Geo 05-01-14
    Blokoe_Geo 05-01-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Utterly Fantastic"
    Where does The Origin and Evolution of Earth rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    By far the best. As a professional geologist I was amazed at how accessible he made some of the more difficult concepts of geology. He also demonstrated very clearly the two-way relationship that the geosphere and biosphere have with each other. Make no mistake, this is a long book, but definitely worth it.


    Any additional comments?

    From this single lecture series, you will have a very strong fundamental understanding of the physics of the early universe, stellar formation, the formation and evolution of the Earth's geology and geologic processes, and a good foundation of biological evolution. I read a lot of popular science magazines and books and there is not a single location where an educated layman could possible leave with so many concepts wound neatly together from various disciplines. It is masterful.

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Randburg, South Africa 03-09-14
    Richard Randburg, South Africa 03-09-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Absolutely loved it"

    On a subject that could be as dry as the very rocks he speaks about, the author brings this science alive and accessible to a lay audience. Each episode is fascinating and compelling and the delivery of the author is superb.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian 03-18-15
    Brian 03-18-15
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    "The Best"

    I was amazed to learn how sophisticated research tools have become so effective in uncovering the origins of our universe. As a physician I take for granted how our research tools are used in the study of life sciences--but never fully appreciated the close link between earth science and biology. Professor Hazan is a fabulous lecturer. His passion and enthusiasm is matched by his knowledge and creativity. Highly recommended.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Bell 10-21-14
    Linda Bell 10-21-14 Member Since 2013

    Magic, Myth, Monsters

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "In depth & fasinating!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Oh, yea!He is brilliant & interesting.


    What other book might you compare The Origin and Evolution of Earth to and why?

    Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey by Carl Sagan.

    He makes the most complicated theories sound like a suspense book!


    Have you listened to any of Professor Robert M. Hazen’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Nope, but next month I'll get his Origins of Life


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    His voice, his excitement throughout.


    Any additional comments?

    Fantastic!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katey 04-26-15
    Katey 04-26-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Great lecturer"

    Hazen's expertise in and love for his subject were clearly evident in these lectures. The subject matter was very new to me and while I will need to listen a second time to fully grasp much of the nuance of the concepts, I never thought I would find geology so interesting. I plan to seek out his "Origins of Life" course next. I highly recommend this course.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pauline 10-24-14
    Pauline 10-24-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Very Informative series,"
    Any additional comments?

    While detailed, it was very interesting and keep me engaged. I highly recommended this course to anyone interest in the origins of earth

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deep Reader 02-02-14
    Deep Reader 02-02-14

    Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved it"

    This is one course that makes me want to listen to more courses by Professor Hazen. While I don't subscribe to some models he explains, it provided me with an alternative possibility of the history of the Earth.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David United States 06-27-14
    David United States 06-27-14 Member Since 2012

    Hellicopter Man

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    "Three 5 star books in one"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Origin and Evolution of Earth to be better than the print version?

    Have not read the print version


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Nucleogenesis


    Which character – as performed by Professor Robert M. Hazen – was your favorite?

    N/A


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

    Yes. Could not manage it all.


    Any additional comments?

    This includes the only complete and understandable description on how elements are made and thats just for starters. I am versed in much of this stuff but recommed the book to all comers.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    damarques Brasília, Brazil 07-29-15
    damarques Brasília, Brazil 07-29-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Lessons from the past"

    Great book for understanding how changeable our planet has always been and how small changes can build up to create global scale events. Considering that the amount of CO2 we've been dumping in the atmosphere in a short period of time is unprecedented in Earth's history as far as science knows, we should be really worried about our future!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eli Shem Tov 03-23-15
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    "Fascinating topic. Well organized. Great lecturer."

    Fascinating topic. Well organized. Great lecturer.
    Took a topic that may have been boring and brought it to life.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
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  • Patrick
    11/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Absorbing"
    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?

    No


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Nathalie
    10/23/15
    Overall
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    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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