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astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2010 :  11:05:15  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The atoms that make up my body are approximately 4.5-13.7 billion years old.

Many were formed after the Big Bang itself.....others were formed in the aftermath of a supernovae.

Could you say that many of the atoms in my body once fueled a star? I know that the fuel of a star is hydrogen and that only stars that supernovae produce heavier elements (besides the Big Bang itself). But if some of the atoms in my body were created in a supernovae can you say they once fueled a massive star or is that taking it to far?


I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum

Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2010 :  11:12:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Most of the atoms in your body would be hydrogen (I claim this using less than even a back-of-the-envelope-calculation). These would never have been used as fuel (they wouldn't be hydrogen if they had). The heavier atoms should mainly have been created by the nuclear fusion in various ex-stars. So why not. Parts of you used to power stars.

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2010 :  11:16:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The hydrogen could have been part of a star though, just sitting around waiting to be turned into heavier elements!


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2010 :  11:49:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Carl Sagan was famous for saying that because the heavier elements in our bodies were necessarily created in stars (and spread by supernovae), "we are made of star-stuff." Literally.

Note also that hydrogen ions (protons) and electrons constantly get shifted around and recombined by biological processes within your body. So it probably could be said that some percentage of the hydrogen atoms in you are "brand new" in the sense that they're made of a proton and an electron which have never been combined before in all of the universe's history.

Also cool is the fact that some (very small) fraction of you is built with carbon-14, which is formed by the interaction of (tremendously awesome) cosmic rays with nitrogen in the upper atmosphere. And every minute of every day, every gram of 14C in your body will experience approximately 14 decays, turning the radioactive carbon back into the nitrogen from whence it came (and giving you an itsy-bitsy-teensy-weensy dose of radiation in the process). Unless, of course, a particular 14C atom was formed due to above-ground A-bomb testing in the 1950s (no cosmic origin).

Which means that we all have a little bit of Oppenheimer in us, too.

(Edited to add that the dose of radiation you get from 14C decays in your own body is about the same as getting one chest X-ray every ten years.)

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2010 :  16:24:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Lawrence Krauss noted that the atoms that make up your left hand most likely come from a completely different star than the atoms that make up your right hand.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
Edited by - Ricky on 03/16/2010 16:24:36
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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2010 :  17:25:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Ricky

Lawrence Krauss noted that the atoms that make up your left hand most likely come from a completely different star than the atoms that make up your right hand.
Eh? The individual atoms in your body might very well come from different stars. I seriously doubt that they have a different affinity for different appendages, however.

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2010 :  17:44:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Hawks

Originally posted by Ricky

Lawrence Krauss noted that the atoms that make up your left hand most likely come from a completely different star than the atoms that make up your right hand.
Eh? The individual atoms in your body might very well come from different stars. I seriously doubt that they have a different affinity for different appendages, however.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2010 :  17:45:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Hawks

Originally posted by Ricky

Lawrence Krauss noted that the atoms that make up your left hand most likely come from a completely different star than the atoms that make up your right hand.
Eh? The individual atoms in your body might very well come from different stars. I seriously doubt that they have a different affinity for different appendages, however.
Yeah, a couple of word changes would have it make much more sense:
...the atoms that make up your left hand most likely come from completely different stars than the atoms that make up your right hand.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2010 :  17:53:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The actual quote:
...the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand.

In my opinion, Krauss's statement is more beautiful for being less cumbersome. And beauty is truth, truth beauty.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
Edited by - Ricky on 03/16/2010 17:53:34
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26000 Posts

Posted - 03/16/2010 :  18:13:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Ricky

And beauty is truth, truth beauty.
"And then man went on to prove that black is white and got himself killed in the next zebra crossing." - Douglas Adams

Krauss:
...the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand.
The way I'd put it:
...the atoms in your left hand probably came from different stars than your right hand.
One fewer syllable, no more difficult to pronounce and more accurate. I win.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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