Ohio State nav bar

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 Developmental 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 the 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 a 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. 

Notable Achievements: 

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