Drawing from the title and concept of the renowned classic J. Bronowski’s The Ascent of Man, we will discuss how Homo sapiens became the dominant animal species on the planet, has altered the land surface over most of the globe and has begun to modify the atmosphere and oceans. From a geologic viewpoint, this is a very recent event. There has been life on Earth for four billion years, but Homo sapiens has been around for only 300,000 years and has been the "master of the planet" for even less time. What can we say about this unique event in the history of life on our planet? This course will cover aspects of humans’ dominant role and explore the unique nature of our species that has enabled this dominance. Lecture topics: (1) History of Life, (2) History of Homo sapiens, (3) Cognitive Revolution, (4) Agricultural Revolution, (5) Scientific Revolution, (6) Industrial Revolution, (7) Shared Beliefs, (8) Shared Beliefs, Countries, and History, (9) What’s Next?, (10) Life in the Universe. | Lecture + Q&A.
PLEASE NOTE: This class is for 10 sessions beginning 9/14-11/23. There is NO CLASS on 9/28.