What are we made of? And where did it come from?
Do you ever ask yourself questions like this?
Our bodies contain Carbon, certainly, with oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, sodium, sulphur, and chlorine, and traces of other things.
With the exception of the hydrogen—which was created after the big bang—pretty much everything else was forged in the nuclear fusion furnace at the core of a star. Yes, we’re made of “stardust”. In fact, most of what we see was at some point forged in the core of a star. Stars fuse hydrogen to helium and helium to carbon and so forth, as they age.
Some fusion reactions (the heavier elements especially) don’t produce much energy, or even absorb energy. As this happens to a larger extent (based on the fuel available to the star), we see the stars aging, going from a blue or white or yellow color to red and, growing in size. Eventually, they collapse, and either become a white dwarf—for a while, then fade to a brown dwarf—or they explode, spreading stardust across the galaxy, which is eventually reformed into planets and stars and moons and people. We’re a part of the cycle of life for energy and matter.
Really large stars can become neutron stars or black holes.
We’re all also energy, since matter and energy are different forms of the same thing. In another perspective we’re a kind of wave in the energy, a part of time-space. Why and how is a question for philosophers, but the universe is certainly interesting.
Things to think about while you’re trying to sleep . . .
Leave a Reply