Evolution's AArc


The story of creators


About the Author

The author of Evolution’s Arc is Cathy McGowan Russell, an evolutionary microbiologist who is now summarizing these ideas in an illustrated book for kids she calls Evolution’s Arc: the Story of Creators.

Her goal is to help people learn about the story of the universe in ways that inform and inspire them to create a flourishing life.

Cathy earned her Ph.D. studying the evolution of bacteria via the exchange of DNA.  (Note that her maiden name is McGowan.)

After grad school, she worked on a National Science Foundation-sponsored project called The Microbe Zoo, to teach kids about the hidden world of microbes. This was one of the first science education projects to be published on the newly emerging World Wide Web.

Fascinated by the cosmic story of the universe beyond biological evolution, Cathy started the website EpicOfEvolution in 2004 to teach our story of the universe (aka Big History or cosmology) to kids and community groups. 

In 2005, she joined the  Evolution Sunday movement and began teaching the science of our evolutionary epic to church and civic groups. 

In 2006 and 2007, Cathy developed an experiential curriculum called Exploring Evolution which she taught to middle school students through the University of Colorado’s Science Discovery program. In this course, kids explored hands-on activities to learn about the general theory of evolution. Students measured skulls of human ancestors, dug for fossils, isolated DNA from strawberries, observed light with diffraction glasses, simulated radioactive decay with beans, “synthesized” DNA with pop-beads, and more.

In 2009, Cathy became a member of the newly formed International Big History Association and attended the first-ever international meeting to promote the teaching of “Big History”, another name for the 13.8 billion-year story of the Universe.

Over time, Cathy realized that what originally seemed like a single unified, science-based story of the universe was in fact two radically different stories. One is a narrative that emphasizes entropic decay, the struggle for limited resources, and human greed, while the other emphasizes the creation of resources via energy flow, the recombination of information, knowledge creation, value-seeking behavior, and innovation.  Same universe, different perspectives.  

Cathy also loves to sing and write songs that celebrate the power that creates this beautiful cosmos and our place and purpose in it.

During the Covid pandemic, Cathy started the website “FreeBoulder.org” with the goal of promoting greater freedom in Boulder and beyond. Evolution’s Arc informs Cathy’s view that freedom engenders innovation, peace, prosperity, and progress. 

Cathy, her husband, and their dog “Nuff” live in a garden paradise in Boulder, Colorado, nestled beneath the iconic Flatirons.   They are the proud parents of a scientifically optimistic son who works at NASA.

Cathy holding a “Cosmala,” a set of beads, each representing a significant event in our 13.8 billion-year evolution from the Big Bang to now.