Tags

, ,

This is meaningless, but I have been annoyed for years with one of Carl Sagan’s most famous statements, “We are made of star stuff!” He made that semi-accurate statement because by mass (by our body weight) we humans are made of elements that came into being by exploding stellar processes. In many stars, the hydrogen created in the earlier processes of the expansion and cooling of the original matter of the Big Bang gets compressed into the other elements that make up the periodic chart of elements seen in science classroom walls.

My quibble, and I too will insist that it is nearly meaningless, is that the greatest number of atoms in the human body are hydrogen atoms. See Wikipedia, Composition of the Human Body, where down in the chart and text we discover that 62% of our atoms are hydrogen. These hydrogen atoms are little and they are light, but they are numerous.

The greatest number of our atoms were not made in stellar processes but in the condensing of matter from the Big Bang. Most of the atoms that we are made of were in existence in the form of hydrogen even before the stars formed. We would not exist without all the elements created by stellar evolutions but even more basically we would not exist without the abundance of hydrogen that preceded the formation of stars.

Most of what we are preceded Sagan’s star stuff. We are the offspring of the Big Bang.

Advertisements