What if there was a class that attempted to cover all of space or all of time?
I was curious about this, so I chose the shortest scale of each, divided up the power of tens, then spread them out over the course of 10 to 12 weeks.
For example, for time, I chose 1 year as the smallest range to look at – the first week’s topic would cover the past 10 years. Then, since the universe is about 12 billion years old, or years, each week would look back another factor of 10 years. The 2nd week would cover the period from 100 years ago to 10 years ago, and so on.
In practice, this would be the topic coverage for a 1-semester history lesson (I’m obviously glossing over some important topics):
|1||10 a||Last 10 years|
|2||100 a||World Wars, information age|
|3||1000 a||modern religion, science, industry|
|4||10,000 a||development of human agriculture|
|5||100,000 a||development of clothing, fishing, domestic animals, art|
|6||1 Ma||Homo erectus, neanderthals, Homo sapiens, controlled fire|
|7||10 Ma||beginning of horses, insect diversification, chimpanzee and human ancestors divide, mammoths, ice age|
|8||100 Ma||whales return to sea, bees, T. rex, South America leaves Antarctica, Atlantic Ocean forms|
|9||1 Ga||possible Snowball Earth, first protozoa, worms, fungi, arthropods, continents shift, land-dwelling life starts, Pangea, dinosaurs|
|10||10 Ga||Big Bang, galaxies form, solar system and Earth form.|
On the other side of things, a space-centered class could break down like this:
|1||100 m||South Loop, Chicago|
|3||1000 km||Midwest USA|
|5||1 au||The sun and inner planets|
|6||10 au||All planets in the solar system|
|7||1000 au||Kuiper belt on edge of our solar system|
|8||1 ly||Oort Cloud on edge of our solar system, nearest star Proxima Centauri|
|9||100 ly||local stellar neighborhood|
|10||10,000 ly||Milky Way Galaxy|
|11||1 Mly||Local Group (of galaxies)|
|12||100 Mly||Observable universe|
Kinda puts things in perspective for me. I forget, sometimes, how big our solar system is, and how recent humans came into being.
Additionally, it strikes me how interdisciplinary either of these courses would need to be. Crossing scales of time and space requires different lenses and tools.