Certificate of Achievement

Peter O'Brien

has completed the following course:

Invisible Worlds: Understanding the Natural Environment

University of Exeter

Invisible Worlds explored the Earth’s natural systems that we cannot see or feel. You explored invisible worlds that are too vast, too small, or too far away in space and time. Over the 4-week course, you discovered how life was shaped by, and shapes, these invisible worlds, and the impacts that humans are having on the earth system. Looking forward, you are now able to understand the interconnectedness of these invisible worlds and picture yourself within them.

4 weeks, 3 hours per week

Professor Tim Lenton

Chair in Climate Change/Earth System Science

University of Exeter

Dr Rhiannon White

Cell Biologist, Researcher/Writer

University of Exeter


Learning outcomes

  • Describe the fundamental science of the invisible worlds
  • Understand how everything on Earth is interconnected
  • Understand the past: the evolution of the planet and our life support system
  • See yourself within the vast: the planetary cycles that we depend on
  • Respect the small: the microbes that built and maintain the life support system
  • Discuss human effects, and how to work towards a positive future
  • Discuss the role played by art and exhibitions in science communication


  • Past Invisible: A time so long ago it’s hard to imagine: the evolution of the Earth’s life support system; the products and processes that are necessary for maintaining life.
  • Vast Invisible: Natural systems and cycles (carbon, nitrogen, phosphate) so massive we can’t feel them: the bigger picture and you in the bigger picture.
  • Small Invisible: Creatures so small we can’t see them: minions or masters of the universe? See how the smallest things underpin the biggest things; the life support systems.
  • The Anthropocene era/effect: Since the small things have such a significant influence on the life support system, you won’t be surprised to see the huge effects we have had.
  • Interconnections: The interconnectedness between life and the Earth’s environments at all scales.

Issued on 19th April 2023

The person named on this certificate has completed the activities in the transcript above. For more information about Certificates of Achievement and the effort required to become eligible, visit futurelearn.com/proof-of-learning/certificate-of-achievement.

This certificate represents proof of learning. It is not a formal qualification, degree, or part of a degree.

Free online course:

Invisible Worlds: Understanding the Natural Environment

University of Exeter