Film + Book

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Journey of the Universe is an Emmy award winning documentary film, and a highly readable, short book that has been translated into seven languages.

The film can be watched online, or you can organize a house party viewing and watch it for free with friends. The book can be purchased at your local bookstore or online.


One day on a Greek island, and your view of the universe will change forever. Ask acclaimed author and evolutionary philosopher Brian Thomas Swimme about our role as humans in this awe-inspiring universe, and his insights will light up the night skies. As our host, co-writer, and fellow traveler, he shares his infectious curiosity about life's biggest questions.
Using his skills as a masterful storyteller, Swimme connects such big picture issues as the birth of the cosmos 14 billion years ago - to the emergence of the first cell - as well as to our current impact on Earth's evolutionary dynamics. Through his engaging and thoughtful observations, audiences everywhere will discover the profound role we play in this intricate web of life. From the “great flaring forth” to the epic impact humans have on the planet today, this film is designed to inspire a new and closer relationship with Earth in a period of growing environmental and social crisis.

Beautifully filmed in HD, our story begins on the historically rich Greek Island of Samos, birthplace of mathematician Pythagoras. Disembarking on the island at dawn, Swimme expertly guides us on an exhilarating trek through time and space, sharing a wondrous view of cosmic evolution as a process based on immense creativity, connection, and interdependence.

After the toll of midnight, he sets sail into the star-lit waters of the Aegean Sea, leaving audiences with a sense of wonder at the mystery, complexity and connectivity that permeates the Earth and universe from the very beginning.

Big science, big history, big story, this one-of-a-kind film was written by Swimme and Yale University historian of religions Mary Evelyn Tucker. They weave a tapestry that draws together scientific discoveries in astronomy, geology, biology, ecology, and biodiversity with humanistic insights concerning the nature of the universe. Created by a renowned team of scientists, scholars, and award-winning filmmakers, Journey of the Universe was produced and directed by David Kennard and Patsy Northcutt. The story is also told with breathtaking clarity in the accompanying book written by Swimme and Tucker and published by Yale University Press.

Principal Bios

Mary Evelyn Tucker
Executive Producer & Co-Writer
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John Grim
Executive Producer
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David Kennard
Co-Producer & Director
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Patsy Northcutt
Co-Producer, Director & Editor
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Ian Salvage
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Behind JOTU


Journey of the Universe tells the epic story of the universe from an inspired new perspective, weaving the findings of modern science together with enduring wisdom found in the humanistic and religious traditions of the West, China, India, and indigenous peoples. The authors envision this book may help readers to discover a sense of belonging to a larger Earth community. From this perspective of interconnection and interdependence we can better address the growing ecological and social challenges of our times.

Journey of the Universe transforms how we understand our origins and envision our future. Though a little book, it tells a big story-one that inspires hope for a wayin which Earth and its human civilizations could flourish together.


The Journey of the Universe book has been translated into:

Writer's Statement

The Inspiration Behind Journey of the Universe

"We have a new story of the universe. Science has given us a new revelatory experience. It is now giving us a new intimacy with the earth." Thomas Berry, Dream of the Earth

At its heart, this 60 minute documentary and book celebrates the collective inspiration of a lively and prolific 30-year-friendship between three visionaries in the fields of science, evolutionary philosophy, and world religions - Thomas Berry, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and Brian Thomas Swimme.

Deeply inspired by Berry’s article titled “The New Story,” which observed how humans are in between stories--creation stories of the world’s religions and the scientific story of the evolution of the universe--both Brian and Mary Evelyn joined forces to co-write this epic narrative that translates our wondrous connection to the cosmos to a broader audience.

We live in a universe of remarkable creativity that has evolved over some 14 billion years. The goal of Journey of the Universe is to tell the story of cosmic and Earth evolution drawing on the latest scientific knowledge, in a way that makes it profoundly relevant and deeply moving to the viewer. What emerges is an intensely poetic story, which evokes emotions of awe, excitement, fear, joy and belonging.

This story told in Journey of the Universe is a dramatic one. Throughout billions of years of evolution, triumph, and disaster have been only a hair's breadth apart. Violence and creativity are pervasive. The ability of matter to organize and re-organize itself is remarkable - from the formation of the first atoms to the emergence of life.

The message of Journey of the Universe shows how we are not just a part of this astonishing process, we are at the very edge of evolution, a primate species that has found in its language and symbols the power to take over the very evolutionary process itself. But this control that we now exercise comes with a responsibility; and viewers of Journey of the Universe will not only be imbued with a sense of astonishment at all that has taken place, they will also come to feel the excitement in learning that now we live in a time when the human species is being asked to play a central role in activating the flourishing powers of Earth’s living systems.

One of the aims of this project is to use the art of storytelling to capture the grandeur and drama of this epic of the universe - from the Big Bang, to where we are today in a moment of great transition.Carl Sagan was the first to remind us that "We are all stardust," in Cosmos (a series co-created by one of the directors of the Journey film). Twenty five years on, the Journey of the Universe will show us how the lineage of stardust can shape the way we feel about our own planet, so that we might better cherish and protect what gave us life and nourishes us still.

Brian Thomas Swimme Biography
Mary Evelyn Tucker Biography