This class explores the origins of the universe in the Big Bang and its development through thresholds of increasing complexity, culminating in the formation of our solar system, our planet, and the beginnings of life on Earth. The history of the universe is investigated by focusing on the formation of matter; the first stars and other
astronomical structures; the development of chemical complexity through the birth and death of these first stars; and the formation of our solar system and its planets, including the Earth and our moon. The development of the Earth, its atmosphere, and the dynamics of plate tectonics are described. The class concludes with an exploration of how life developed on our planet in concert with these changing planetary processes.