Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What Neil DeGrasse Tyson is talking about now on Charlie Rose, I bid Mark Franz, son of a dairy farmer up on the ridge, and I to do for a report for chemistry class.   I found a book in the Hamilton College library, a slim volume, about nuclear astro chemistry/physics.  The remarkable concept, back then, in 1981 or 1982, that all that we are made of, which are elements more complicated than carbon, have come about by being cooked up in the nuclear reactions that happen in the hottest an most energetic of places, the core of stars, stars bigger than our own sun.  What more was there to say?  We are made, all our atoms, each is a combination of the elements made in distant suns impossibly long ago, and yet here they are.

Ms. VanValkenburg didn't have much to say.  She gave my friend Dave Porter and, who was it, another guy, a much better grade for simply reading a chapter in the Chemistry text book., which they did without any liveliness more than a drone.

I thought it an incredible understanding.  We are made of stardust.  I wanted to share, a gospel of chemistry, of what the biological creature is built of, carbon, nitrogen, more than that, down deep in the most intricate fibers....

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