Journey of the Universe Conversations
Program Previews

Formerly titled "Educational Series"

Twenty-part series (30 minutes each) in a 4-DVD Set
Available for Purchase

Conversations with Scientists, Environmentalists, and Educators
Hosted by Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale University

Highlights from Conversations:

1. Beginning of the Universe

Joel Primack
Distinguished Professor of Physics
University of California, Santa Cruz

Joel Primack describes the emergence of the universe, the universe’s expansion, and the formation of the first elements, stars, and galaxies. This conversation also includes explanations of cold dark matter and dark energy.

2. Galaxies Forming

Todd Duncan
Science Integration Institute
Portland, Oregon
 Joel Primack
Distinguished Professor of Physics
University of California, Santa Cruz

Todd Duncan and Joel Primack explore the formation of galaxies from the hot, energetic state of the early universe. These interviews cover topics ranging from the shapes of galaxies to the formation of the Milky Way.

3. The Emanating Brilliance of Stars

Joel Primack
Distinguished Professor of Physics
University of California, Santa Cruz 

Todd Duncan
Science Integration Institute
Portland, Oregon

Joel Primack and Todd Duncan describe the emergence and death of stars. They trace elements found in all life on Earth, including those found in our bodies, back to supernova explosions.

4. Birth of the Solar System

Craig Kochel
Geology Department, Bucknell University
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Craig Kochel describes the evolution of our solar system and its planets. Included in this conversation are the origins of the Moon, the creative dynamism of plate tectonics, and the impact of geology on Earth’s biology.

5. Life’s Emergence

Ursula Goodenough
Biology Department
Washington University 
St. Louis, Missouri

Terry Deacon
Anthropology Department
University of California, Berkeley

Ursula Goodenough and Terry Deacon explore the complexities of the emergence of the first cells and the intricate patterning found in DNA and multicellular organisms.

6. Learning, Living, and Dying

Terry Deacon
Anthropology Department
University of California, Berkeley

The evolution of the brain is a story of adaptation, consciousness, and responsiveness that begins with single celled organisms and continues through the vertebrates. Here, Terry Deacon compares the adaptive brains of humans, chimpanzees, and our many evolutionary ancestors. For more on this topic, see "The Age of Humans: Evolutionary Perspectives on the Anthropocene."

7. The Passion of Animals

Scott Sampson
Utah Museum of Natural History
University of Utah, Salt Lake City

Scott Sampson tells the compelling story of Earth’s fossil record. Touching on topics ranging from the ancient ecosystems of dinosaurs to the co-evolution of the human with other species, this interview highlights the importance of understanding mass extinctions.

8. The Origin of the Human

John Grim
School of Forestry and Environmental
Yale University

Melissa Nelson
American Indian Studies
San Francisco State University

Drawing upon the history of early humans and highlighting contemporary indigenous lifeways, John Grim and Melissa Nelson explain the sustaining power of ritual and celebratory acts that locate humans within the rhythms of Earth’s transformative systems. For more on this topic, see "The Age of Humans: Evolutionary Perspectives on the Anthropocene."

9. Becoming a Planetary Presence

Cynthia Brown
Professor Emerita
Dominican University of California, San Rafael

Cynthia Brown describes the “big history” approach to understanding the role of the human in relation to the historical unfolding of the cosmos and Earth. She highlights key threshold moments of evolutionary change.

10. Transition

Mary Evelyn Tucker, Co-Director, Forum on Religion and Ecology, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University introduces a collection of creative thinkers who are drawing upon the story of the universe to re-envision and create mutually enhancing human-Earth relations.

11. Breakthrough Communities

Carl Anthony
Founder, Breakthrough Communities
Oakland, California 

Carl Anthony tells how the universe story expanded his own understanding of race and environmental justice. With a focus on urban and metropolitan areas, he explains the practical implications of a functional cosmology for sustainable community development.

12. Eco-Cities

Richard Register
Ecocity Builders
Berkeley, California

By emphasizing an organic and evolutionary whole-city perspective, Richard Register draws attention to the imaginative ways in which cities are being rethought and rebuilt around the planet for a flourishing, sustainable future.

13. Ecological Economics

Richard Norgaard
Energy and Resources Program
University of California, Berkeley

Richard Norgaard surveys the history of human economies and the myths and premises of current economic practices. In place of our ecologically destructive practices, he endorses an ecological economics that emphasizes care, co-evolution, and protection of the environment.

14. Permaculture

Penny Livingston
Regenerative Design Institute
Bolinas, California

Penny Livingston leads viewers through the history and significance of permaculture. She discusses permaculture as an agricultural practice that increases biodiversity and helps us to understand our place in the story of the universe.

15. Indigenous Ways of Knowing

David Begay
Adjunct Professor
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Northern Arizona University

Nancy Maryboy
President and Founder of
Indigenous Education Institute
Santa Fe, New Mexico

David Begay and Nancy Maryboy invite us to understand Navajo ways of knowing. They describe a worldview that is place-based, emphasizes kinship and connection, and intimately orients the human within an interrelated and unified cosmos.

16. Sustainable Energy

Paula Gonzalez 
Cincinnati, Ohio

Paula Gonzalez narrates the efforts of Catholic sisters to harness solar power and other natural systems as a means of protecting the Earth community and participating in the story of the universe.

17. Healing and Revisioning

Belvie Rooks
Co-Founder, Growing a Global Heart
Elk, California

Belvie Rooks describes how teaching the story of the universe has empowered African American youth to contextualize slavery, envision healing and reconciliation, and imagine a better future through a broader sense of self and of place.

18. Arts and Justice

Drew Dellinger
Founder, Planetize the Movement
Berkeley, California

Marya Grathwohl
Writer and Founder
Earth Hope, Wyoming

Whether through poetry and activism, the study of science, or participating in a Crow Sundance, Drew Dellinger and Marya Grathwohl express shared visions of creative transformation that are inspired by the journey of the universe.

19. Myths, Metaphors, and Identities

Nancy Abrams
Attorney and Co-Author
The New Universe and the
Human Future

Sachiko Kawaura
Department of Psychology and
Human Relations
Nanzan University, Nagoya, Japan

Nancy Abrams and Sachiko Kawaura highlight the role of myth, metaphor, and art in broadening and deepening our understanding of human identity within a cosmological context.

20. Teaching Journey of the Universe

Tom Collins
Religion and Philosophy Department
The Lawrenceville School, Princeton
New Jersey 

Bindu Mohanty
Auroville, India

Tom Collins and Bindu Mohanty describe how learning the universe story has allowed high school and college students to experience an expanded sense of self and to transform despair into a sense of hope and empowerment.