Big History

Sam White




Primary Investigator:

Sam White, Ph.D- Assistant Professor
College of Arts and Sciences- History 


Steam Collaborators: 

John Beacom, Ph.D- Professor

College of Arts and Sciences- Physics, Astronomy, CCAPP

Sathya Gopalakrishnan, Ph.D- Assistant Professor

College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences- Agriculture, Environmental and Develpmental Economics

Jim Fowler, Ph.D- Assistant Professor

College of Arts and Sciences- Mathematics

David Staley, Ph.D-Associate Professor

College of Arts and Sciences- History 



Big History brings together the cosmic, earth, evolutionary, and human past. The course provides a consilient, non-technical introduction to the essential state of knowledge about the galaxy, planet, life, and humanity. The unifying theme throughout the course is emergence of increasingly complex and fragile systems in a universe forever moving toward entropy. By the end of the course, students acquire a basic grounding in some of the major theories that help explain our place in the cosmos, and a new appreciation of where we came from and where we might be going.

White has introduced Big History at Ohio State with the long-term goal of creating an online GE course that could be offered to both undergraduates and high school students through dual-enrollment or College Credit Plus programs. Given the broad scope of the course and the high-quality materials already produced for high school instruction, it is particularly suited for this purpose. In fall 2015, Dr. Sam White taught Big History (Hist 2720) as twice-weekly lecture course with a once-weekly interactive recitation section. The course involved the participation of five STEAM Factory members to contribute guest lectures in different disciplines. 

Noteable Achievements: 

  • Received positive course evaluations
  • Involeved 5 STEAM Factory members as guest lecturers