A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves (Paperback)

A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves Cover Image

A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves (Paperback)

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"A thrilling synthesis from a brilliant scientist who discovered one of the most important chapters in our history." —Sean B. Carroll


Big History, the field that integrates traditional historical scholarship with scientific insights to study the full sweep of our universe, has so far been the domain of historians. Famed geologist Walter Alvarez—best known for the “Impact Theory” explaining dinosaur extinction—has instead championed a science-first approach to Big History. Here he wields his unique expertise to give us a new appreciation for the incredible occurrences—from the Big Bang to the formation of supercontinents, the dawn of the Bronze Age, and beyond—that have led to our improbable place in the universe.



Walter Alvarez, professor of geology at the University of California, Berkeley, received the Penrose Medal, the top honor in geology, and is the best-selling author of T. Rex and the Crater of Doom. He lives in Berkeley, California.
Product Details ISBN: 9780393355192
ISBN-10: 0393355195
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: December 5th, 2017
Pages: 256
Language: English
[Alvarez] revels in the unlikely reality of life on Earth…enabling readers to experience the power of Big History.
— Science

Fans of Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything will appreciate Alvarez’s enthusiastic, clearly written tour of contingencies that have shaped our world, starting with the origins of life on Earth.

— Science News

For the past three decades, Walter Alvarez has been at the center of a revolution in how scientists think about the history of life and the Earth. In A Most Improbable Journey he gives us the biggest history of all, going from the Big Bang to our own place on the planet. Lively and profound and flavored with his infectious enthusiasm, Alvarez shows how each of us has won a truly massive lottery just to be a sentient being on this planet.

— Neil Shubin, best-selling author of Your Inner Fish

A wonderful account of Big History by a geologist. And not just any geologist, but the geologist who showed that the dinosaurs were done in by an unlucky asteroid strike! Alvarez writes with precision and great charm. And he reminds us how absurdly improbable is the role we play in this colossal story, and how many things had to go right for you and me to exist.
— David Christian, founder of the field of Big History and author of Maps of Time

Engaging.
— Nature