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Yale University

Journey of the Universe: The Unfolding of Life

Yale University via Coursera


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Journey of the Universe weaves together the discoveries of the evolutionary sciences together with humanities such as history, philosophy, art, and religion. The course draws on the Emmy-award winning film, Journey of the Universe, and the book from Yale University Press. Journey explores cosmic evolution as a creative process based on connection, interdependence, and emergence. It examines a range of dynamic interactions in the unfolding of galaxies, Earth, life, and human communities. It investigates ways in which we understand evolutionary processes and the implications for humans and our ecological future. The Journey course, thus, is based on a new integration that is emerging from the dialogue of the sciences and humanities. Journey tells the story of evolution as an epic narrative, rather than as a series of facts separated by scientific disciplines. This changes our perception so that we begin to see ourselves as an integral part of this narrative. By situating ourselves within this story we can better appreciate the complexity and beauty of processes such as self-organizing dynamics, natural selection, emergence, symbiosis, and co-evolution. As we discover these intricate processes of evolution, we awaken to the beauty and complexity of our natural environment at this critical juncture in our planetary history.


  • Welcome to Journey of the Universe: The Unfolding Life
    • Learn what this course is about, who's teaching it, and other ways you can explore this topic. Meet and greet your peers as well!
  • Introduction - Beginning of the Universe
    • In module two, we explore how humans are part of the larger universe story.
  • The Formation of Galaxies and Stars
    • This module explores many of the world's greatest stories and how they begin with a journey, a quest to answer life's most intimate questions like where do we come from and why are we here?
  • Our Solar System and Life’s Emergence
    • Here we look at several major milestones in scientific discovery that expanded our knowledge of the solar system
  • Living and Dying and the Passion of Animals
    • Now we invite you to think about the coevolution of the human with other species within this broad time scale. Completing this module may change the way that you understand what it means to be human!
  • From the Origin of the Human to Becoming a Planetary Presence
    • In this module, we hope you come to understand the human species to be “planetary” in a way that other species are not.
  • Rethinking Matter and Time within the Emerging Earth Community
    • What does it mean to you to live in cosmological time? How is thinking like this different than your previous understanding of time? What implications does it have for your understanding of yourself and your sense of your relation to the world around you? This module explores answers to these questions.

Taught by

Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim


3.5 rating, based on 4 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 426 ratings

Start your review of Journey of the Universe: The Unfolding of Life

  • Anonymous
    This course gave a unique insight into our understanding of the universe. I really enjoyed it because it explored the world from start to end. I also loved the Journey of the Universe full film because of the deep understanding of the Universe that Tucker and Grim and Swimme have. However, I found the first few videos confusing, and did not really understand what was going on. The quizzes at the end of each unit were not available to me because I had not purchased the course. Overall though, I think it was amazing and recommend it to anybody who is interested in science or history.
  • Islampeace
    i take this because i want knowledge ..this course is very interesting and course organizer are also high qualified this course is very daynamic and very helpfull for your future and its important in general knowledge
  • Silvia Ortego
  • Emma Stock

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