Applied Big History is a guidebook to doing good and well in a fast-changing world. With the help of numerous experts, author William Grassie builds a lattice work of diverse disciplines—physics, chemistry, geology, cell biology, energetics, informatics, evolution, anthropology, psychology, economics, and more. Grassie explores the significant of chaos and complexity, and the dynamics of discovery and innovation, in evolution and economics. He does so with a practical eye to how these new sciences can help better understand and better practice economics, business, and finance in the face of uncertainties.
The ten dimensions in the Great Matrix of Being give us ten ways of measuring reality — by size, time, matter, energetics, electromagnetism, sound waves, information-ingenuity, sentience-consciousness, culturally constructed hierarchies, and thresholds of emergent complexity. All phenomena can be located within this Matrix.
Dorling Kindersley Books (DK) recently published a four-hundred-page textbook on Big History with spectacular illustrations and content. This twenty-first century version of an illuminated manuscript might well be your best Bible to Big History. Big History also makes a great gift for growing minds. At five and a half pounds, this is not a book you’ll want to carry around. It
VIDEOS William Grassie, Big History: The New Narrative, 8:37 David Christian, The What and Why of Big History, 21:53. Bob Bain, Big Questions about Big History in US schools, 42:09.
Joel Primack is a professor of physics and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His wife, Nancy Abrams, is a specialist in the history and philosophy of science. Together they deliver this motivational TEDx talk, which calls for a cosmological, Big History perspective as a means to solving some of our most difficult problems as a society.
When it comes to futurists, there are pessimists and there are enthusiasts. Jason Silva brings a new meaning to the latter.
What knowledge of science, culture and civilization would you most want to pass on to the surviving humans as they faced the prospect of adapting to a new environment and rebuilding their lives over many generations?
Photos and video from the inaugural conference of the International Big History Association.
Humans now consume some 18 trillion watts of energy in a variety of forms. Every aspect of our contemporary lives depends on this tremendous flow of energy.
We argue about truth, beauty, and goodness based on competing religious, nationalistic, ethnic, and ideological stories. What intellectual tools can help to mediate between these competing narratives?
We need to humbly put questions about the universe and the universal back at the heart of education, including and especially religious education.
This is the new chart for the new cosmology. It is the most comprehensive compendium of scientific facts on a single page I know. No reason to leave home without one of these maps of time stuffed in your glove compartment or backpack.
Big History seeks to evoke in you an appreciation for the immensity of science and a longing for the greatest story ever told.
Recreating the conditions of
matter-energy in the early Universe
Atlas, LHC, Cern 2010.06.11
Large Scale Structure of the Universe
A web of billions of galaxies
Summer is the time of mounting cumulus clouds, the sharp claps and growling rumble of thunder, and the shock and beauty of lightning in its myriad forms. Lightning can appear as flashes, pulsing sheets, and frightening jagged strikes. Not only does it occur during thunderstorms, but it also can appear around erupting volcanoes and intense forest fires as well as
Artist’s Statement I am interested in how systems can be applied in the process of making art, how something can survive within a scheme of convention, exploring the system itself in order to understand it, and perhaps, trying to find a condition of artistic autonomy within the framework I create. Like Mondrian’s grids, the abstraction in my work has to
Guggenheim Fellow Erika Blumenfeld was artist-in-residence on a six-week expedition to Antarctica. This month's Visual Explorations seeks to awaken the imagination to the intersection of art, science, and humanity.
Humanity’s longest lasting remnants are found among the stars. Over the last fifty years, hundreds of satellites have been launched into geosynchronous orbits, forming a ring of machines 36,000 kilometers from earth. Thousands of times further away than most other satellites, geostationary spacecraft remain locked as man-made moons in perpetual orbit long after their operational lifetimes. Geosynchronous spacecraft will be
Photographs of Jerram’s glass artworks are used widely in medical journals, text books and media stories and are seen as useful representations of virology within the scientific community. His work has been presented in The Lancet, the British Medical Journal and on the front cover of Nature Magazine.
Inspired by physics, I use the lines of colliding atomic particles to explore a new language of abstraction. Fusing physics, digital technology, and painting, I create hyper-energetic, cascading compositions based on simulated atomic particle collisions. Amid an infinite void, thousands of vibrantly-hued dots explode and implode in a constant state of flux, conjuring fireworks, waterfalls, and volcanic mountains. An exploration
These installations are meant to embrace biotechnology and advances in science.
I was with my mother when she died a quarter of a century ago. As the terrible moment approached, she described something that struck me deeply. My brothers and sisters had livened her hospital room, given it bright colors, with various decorations, and my mother was gazing at them. She said the balloons were talking to her, and the colors were flowing together. The walls
A look into the bustling society of a hive full of honeybees.
My initial study in microbiology and my interest in the history of architecture have resulted in works informed by both geometric design and biological morphologies.
Everywhere you look, there is a hidden world that is unseen to the naked eye. Each plant, animal, speck of dust has its own story to tell. Through my photography, I aim to be the bridge between these microscopic worlds and the humans they coexist with. Often we overlook the smallest parts of life, taking for granted the technology, mechanism,
Planktonic microbes constitute the base of aquatic ecosystems. Protists are typical of the plankton as species richness seems unreasonably high—the "Paradox."
This is a pyramidal neuron from the hippocampus, a part of the brain where some kinds of memories are formed. This neuron has been labeled with fluorescent antibodies so that we can visualize microtubules (shown in green), which form a structural network inside the neuron, and insulin receptors (shown in red), which are cell surface proteins that instruct neurons to
From a series of microscope images exploring the surface beauty of insects and animals (butterfly wing scales, beetles' forewings) and micro crystals.
Dense star environments can cause amazingly intricate patterns.
The origin of high-energy particles in astrophysics is still a mystery. Annihilation of magnetic field lines of opposite orientation, a process known as “magnetic reconnection,” may convert the magnetic energy into particle energy. In this process, the magnetic field will end up being confined within magnetic islands (represented as red blobs in this image), with high-energy particles meandering among the
Extending the boundaries of the handmade to express abstract ideas, I confront the collision between art and science, directing energies into exploiting the properties of a primal material at the extremes of its capabilities.
This artwork was created by Tom Rockwell under a commission of the Metanexus Institute. The goal was to represent the universe at all scales throughout time.
My directive as an artist is to engage and communicate the meaning that lies before our eyes, and yet we do not see. I attempt to point to the "numinous," which is characterized by the quintessential qualities of the sacred: mystery, awe, fascination, satisfaction, and inspiration.
Literature, folktales and myths often inspire my exploration of the feminine archetype. My figures often bear the scars and imperfections, that, to me, characterize the struggle to become.
The spiral staircase has been viewed as a metaphor for both personal growth and historical development.
The artworks shown here are by multiple artists.
My work is spiritual and centering, told with simplicity, expressing in color and composition what cannot be spoken with words. It embodies the music, harmony, and mystery of the Universe, the underlying energy of our world, the music of being within all things, creating a peaceful, harmonious space wherein one can experience silence, stillpoint, and oneness with all.
With giant Saturn hanging in the blackness and sheltering Cassini from the sun's blinding glare, the spacecraft viewed the rings as never before, revealing previously unknown faint rings and even glimpsing its home world.
Works from my Circle, Hoops & Spirals and Sacred Spaces series at the 2009 Metanexus Conference
In the same way as all "objects" in this world are fundamentally impermanent, and essentially arbitrary, partitions of an otherwise continuous, unfragmented whole, photography is (for me) an almost mystical process whereby the "veils of fragmentation" are momentarily lifted and the underlying essence of the universe is revealed.
The purple cloth, woven in the aftermath of 9/11, celebrates the power and promise of hope. The buttons, created by clay artist Susan Ryles, are imprinted with the word hope in more than a dozen languages.
The photograph was taken on the streets of Bangkok. I was stunned by these plastic Buddhist monks sitting in a shop window. The statues are of famous Thai monks and are rendered with remarkable realism.
The imagery is drawn from that sublime altar of the earth that is the Himalaya—the Abode of the Gods. It was to these remote mountains, specifically the region of Lo, that esteemed Philadelphia composer Andrea Clearfield and I traveled in 2008 for the purposes of an artistic collaborative.
The repertoire of objects in a vanitas still-life is confined to external power symbols: crowns—including the papal tiara and mitres, as well as kingly crowns—and a knight's armour were always part of such still-lifes, as was the globe as a symbol of worldwide expansion and a craving for conquests. These "elements of vanity" are of central importance in this painting.
The exhibition was inspired by the work of physician and scholar, Andrew Newberg, and it is his brain scans of individuals engaged in religious experience that form the centerpiece of the exhibit.
The digital print uses a geoanalytical chart of the wind directions of the northern hemisphere to suggest the migration of physical matter (including genetic escapes) worldwide.
I take it upon myself to photograph the disappearing legacy of our sacred artists and craftsmen—as it is likely, with the way religion is going and the arts as well, that we will never see the power of these structures again to the same extent and fervor.
An interdisciplinary project predicated on the belief that contemporary art, at its best, can move outside of the narrow confines of the art world, approaching the general public through genuinely creative thought and a gentle activism.
© 2003 The William Blake Archive, Morris Eaves, Robert N. Essick, and Joseph Viscomi “The First Book of Urizen, as its title suggests, can be seen as the first book of Blake’s “Infernal Bible”. In it he offers an alternative view of creation in a rewriting of the biblical Book of Genesis. According to this view, creation itself needs to
I began this series of small drawings during my pregnancy to explore images of reproduction, gestation, and cellular growth within the confines of a restrained palette: pencil, needle, glue, paper.
I make work about desire, change, and living in pursuit of wholeness despite fear, anxiety, and obstacles. In these particular pieces, desire and yearning manifest themselves as physical thirsts for dirt and tears: gritty, basic, and pure.
One of 38 miniatures in watercolor from the "Aurora consurgens" ("Rising dawn"), an illuminated manuscript of the 15th century.
All of my work reflects my fascination with natural patterns and texture. I am interested in the natural cycles that are part of life. The subject matter is ordinary but transformed, isolated from its usual setting and viewed in the context of the universal forces of generation, growth and decay.
A series of computerized machine embroidered doilies mounted on black velvet. The design of each doily is based on a different viral structure.
M1 Crab Nebula
Remains of supernova sighted in 1054.
Birthing grounds for chemically rich solar systems
Metanexus is an invented word to designate a new way of thinking. “Metanexus” literally means “transcending connections” and “transformational networks.” The approach is multi-perspectival and scientifically rigorous. Implied is an epistemology, ontology, ethics, and aesthetics that understands process and relationship to be foundational.
Founded in 1997, the Metanexus Institute is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting scientifically rigorous and philosophically open-ended explorations of foundational questions. This website is a record of that work and the people involved over many years from all corners of the Earth, faith traditions, academic and scientific disciplines.
Today, our knowledge and knowhow go deep into specializations, as our world becomes ever more fragmented. We believe this fragmentation lies at the root of many of the current threats to our wellbeing in the 21st century.
The mandate is to Think Big. We advocate a global conversation about Big History—the new scientific origin story of our species evolution on this restless planet in a vast universe. It is essential to solving Big Problems and productively debating Big Questions. We invite you to browse our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
is archetypally human.
No other species controls fire.
Fire mastery profoundly changed culture, diet,
physiology,geographic range, and local environments.