WICI Talk - Lewis Dartnell - ORIGINS: How the Earth Shaped Human History

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 10:00 am - 12:00 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

WICI brings Lewis Dartnell, author of 'The Knowledge' back to Waterloo to discuss his newest book, 'Origins'. A panel discussion about 'biophysical vs. socio-ecological drivers of cultural evolution' with Prof. Vanessa Schweizer and Prof. Igor Grossmann will follow Dartnell's discussion.

Date: Tuesday September 17th, 2019
Reception: 10:00 a.m (Talk from 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.)
Location: DC 1302

Click here to view the video of this talk on Vimeo.

ORIGINS: How the Earth Shaped Human History

When we talk about human history, we focus on great leaders, revolutions, and technological advances. But how has the Earth itself determined our destiny? How has our planet made us?

As a species we are shaped by our environment. Geological forces drove our evolution in East Africa; mountainous terrain led to the development of democracy in Greece; and today voting behaviour in the United States follows the bed of an ancient sea. The human story is the story of these forces, from plate tectonics and climate change, to atmospheric circulation and ocean currents.

By taking us through millennia of human history, and billions of years into our planet’s past, Professor Lewis Dartnell tells us the ultimate origin story. When we reach the point where history becomes science we see a vast web of connections that underwrites our modern world and helps us face the challenges of the future.

From the cultivation of the first crops to the founding of modern states, Origins reveals the Earth’s awesome impact on the shape of human civilizations.

"Origins by Lewis Dartnell stands comparison with Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens... A thrilling piece of Big History" - THE SUNDAY TIMES

"Dartnell’s story is beautifully written and organized. His infectious curiosity and enthusiasm tug the reader from page to page, synthesizing geology, oceanography, meteorology, geography, palaeontology, archaeology and political history in a manner that recalls Jared Diamond’s classic 1997 book Guns, Germs, and Steel." - NATURE

"Dartnell’s approach is encyclopedic, marked by both a broad sweep and a passion for details." - WASHINGTON POST

"Dartnell has found the perfect blend of science and history. This is a book that will not only challenge our preconceptions about the past, but should make us think very carefully about humanity’s future" - MAIL ON SUNDAY

Lewis Dartnell headshot
Prof. Lewis Dartnell is an astrobiology researcher based at the University of Westminster, London. Alongside his research he writes regular articles in newspapers and magazines, and has appeared in TV shows such as BBC Horizon, Wonders of the Universe, and documentaries on National Geographic, Discovery and History channels. Both ORIGINS and his previous book, ‘The Knowledge:How To Rebuild Our World After An Apocalypse’ are Sunday Times bestsellers.