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The intricate forms we see around us in nature - a seashell, a bird’s feather, a blossoming flower - all evolved and were the results of millions of years of natural selection. Beyond our world, the forms of planets, stars, and galaxies are likewise sculpted by the evolution of natural forces over billions of years. Envisioning and reconstructing these forces of natural selection and cosmic evolution require a form of detective work and deep grounding in the disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. However it is important to stress that the process of evolution is not in the past - our planet, the lifeforms in it, and our universe continues to evolve, often on timescales within our lifespan. The results of human intervention on the biosphere - global warming, reductions of biodiversity, and the depletion of all manner of natural resources are also altering the course of evolution in dramatic and perhaps irreversible ways. In this course we will explore the processes of evolution in its broadest sense - both from the perspective of the past, and for the future, as we apply our knowledge to help study how humans can enable the future evolution of our planet to be more habitable and more sustainable.


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