Chemical Evolution in Big History


Leonid Grinin


Unfortunately, there is insufficient research on the course of chemical evolution within the framework of the study of both Big History and evolution. The lack of attention to chemical evolution is all the more disappointing since it is a very important part of megaevolution and Big History, which at some of its stages even act as the leading line (in particular, in the formation of pre-life on the Earth five billion years ago). The paper presents a brief history of chemical evolution: from the formation of the first atoms in the Universe to abiogenesis on the Earth, that is, the stage of pre-life and the formation of prerequisites for the emergence of the first living organisms. The history of chemical evolution before life's origin can be divided into three stages: the formation of atoms (pre-evolution); history before the start of the abiogenic phase on the Earth; and abiogenic chemical evolution. However, the author aims to elaborate a more detailed periodization of chemical evolution before life's origin. One should also pay attention to the important feature of chemical evolution which distinguishes it from other lines of evolution, namely, its co-evolutionary nature. The author demonstrates that chemical evolution at all its stages acted as a part of a co-evolutionary tandem: first, as a part of cosmic and stellar-galactic evolution, then as a part of planetary evolution since it is on planets (where temperature parameters are much more comfortable for chemical reactions) that a new qualitative stage in the development of chemical evolution begins. Finally, on the Earth, it developed first as a part of geochemical evolution, and then as a part of bio-chemical evolution, and this development continues until now.


Author Biography

Leonid Grinin, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow; Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Leonid E. Grinin is Director of Uchitel Publishing, Volgograd, Russia. Beginning as a teacher in rural schools, he founded his publishing firm to develop educational materials in the 1980s. He then completed a Ph.D. at Moscow State University and expanded Uchitel to serve a global market in Russian and English. A sociologist, philosopher of history, and economist, his work focuses on identifying regularities of macroevolution. Among his thirty monographs are From Confucius to Comte: The Formation of the Theory, Methodology and Philosophy of History (2012, in Russian); Macrohistory and Globalization (2012); and The Big History of the Universe’s Development: Cosmic Evolution (2013, in Russian). Leonid co-authored Great Divergence and Great Convergence: A Global Perspective (2015) and co-edits the international journals, Social Evolution and History and Journal of Globalization Studies. A founding member and Deputy Director of the Eurasian Center for Megahistory & System Forecasting, access to his portal, Social Studies.