Sunday, February 7, 2021

Where Did Atoms Come From?

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Cosmology, Astrophysics

One of the problem with learning at least when I was in school was how rote much of it was.  I've spent most of my life trying to correct some of these deficiencies in my understanding while also learning to ask questions as a matter of routine. To wonder.

I'd never wondered where atoms came from, when they were made and what is our best current understanding of the process. I'd just accepted the definition that they are made of neutrons, protons and electrons and marched on.

Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder has a great explainer--a talk and a manuscript. It is a guided tour of the atom factory. And it is great to have both transcript and talk. The advantage the universe had, still has, is time, so much of very, very, very deep time that it is not easy to grasp but this time and the behavior of the particles of the early universe led to these things we call atoms. The baking process was a long one. The result is encapsulated in the periodic table, that chart that is the part of the furniture in many classrooms. She speaks while standing in front of one. 

Here is the video (8m 47s) and as usual I recommend you scan the comments--invariably interesting and Dr. Hossenfelder manages the back and forth very nicely and, I think, always fairly and firmly, sometimes bluntly.

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