Seminar Fred Spier: Big History and the Future

You are hereby invited to a seminar in our fifth interdisciplinary series on Evolution, Complexity and Cognition.

Thursday, Jan. 15, 2008, 2-4 pm.

In the Center Leo Apostel, just outside the VUB campus (see map and directions). Coffee and drinks are available. Free entrance: everybody welcome!

Big History and the Future:
Complexity, Energy and Goldilocks Circumstances

Dr. Fred Spier,

Senior Lecturer in Big History

Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies
University of Amsterdam
Sarphatistraat 104
1018 GV Amsterdam
The Netherlands
University of Amsterdam Big History web site

In my presentation, I will give an overview of my explanatory scheme for all of history, from the beginning of the Universe until life on Earth today (Big History). This scheme is based on the ways in which matter and energy flows within certain boundary conditions have made possible both the rise and demise of complexity in all its forms. This scheme was first published as an article and is now the subject of my upcoming book, tentatively titled: Big History and the Future. I will focus on a few fascinating examples ranging from cosmology to human history, which I found in the literature during last few years while doing research on this subject. This will be followed by the application of my approach to what the future may have in store for all of us.

About the speaker
Fred Spier holds a M.Sc. in biochemistry, a M.A. in cultural anthropology and a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology and social history. As of 1994, he has been organizing the annual Big History course at the University of Amsterdam, and, since 2003, also at the Eindhoven University of Technology.

Recent publications
1999    The Structure of Big History: From the Big Bang until today. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
2005    `How Big History Works: Energy Flows and Rise and Demise of Complexity.' Social Evolution & History 4, 1, (87-135), Moscow: `Uchitel' Publishing House.
2005    `What Drives Human History ? A View from Big History' Historically Speaking, May / June issue, Volume 6, no.5, (28-31).
2005    `The Ghost of Big History is Roaming the Earth' History and Theory 44 , May issue (253-264).
2005    `The Small History of the Big History Course at the University of Amsterdam.' World History Connected 2, 2 (May issue). ()
2006    "Why Big History?" Philosophy, Science and Humanities, Organ of the Russian Ministry of Education, 2006, 8 (104-106).
2008    ‘Big history: The emergence of a novel interdisciplinary approach.' Interdisciplinary Science Review 33, 2, (141-152).