We are stardust…literally

We are stardust…literally

Some think the seeds of life came from the Big Bang, but that misses a critical part of how the elements of life came to be. All the elements we have discovered and mapped on the periodic table contain a certain number of protons. For example, iron possesses 26 protons, and gold (Au), a much heavier element, contains 79.

The Big Bang produced ONLY elements with one and two protons, hydrogen and helium, along with trace amounts of three and four proton elements (you can look those up on the periodic table). However, life on earth requires carbon, which has six protons, as well as a bunch of other elements. Where did those heavier, more proton-dense elements come from if not from the Big Bang?  

From exploding stars, says physicist Lawrence Krauss, “It’s the most poetic finding in physics.” While the conditions present at the Big Bang did not create heavier elements, they did create stars. But a star also did not have the right conditions to produce heavier elements—until the star came to the end of its “life-cycle,” when it exploded and died. It was during the star’s dying process that the energy conditions were sufficient to create heavier elements. In other words, the elements that created us literally came from the death of stars.

So forget Jesus, the stars died so that you could be here today.

~ Lawrence Krauss

Religious overtones aside, according to currently accepted theories in physics, we are literally made of stardust. No hyperbole. Just physics.



Lawrence Krauss has written a number of books, but the one most relevant to understanding this stardust observation is A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing.

His most recent book, which is also excellent, is The Greatest Story Ever Told–So Far: Why Are We Here?

“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements – the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life – weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.”
― Lawrence M. Krauss

Comments are closed.