We Are All Stardust

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When I look up at the night sky and I know that, yes, we are part of this Universe, we are in this Universe, but perhaps more important than most of those facts is that the Universe is in us .. my atoms came from those stars. There’s a level of connectivity… That’s precisely what we are, just by being alive.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Some time ago, an astrophysicist ( whose name I’ve forgotten ) was asked about evolution. He said: “When I look at the stars I see my ancestors”. His statement could have been  based on his spiritual beliefs, his aesthetic sense, or his scientific knowledge. But, in this case, he was speaking with a factual voice from Western science. He was suggesting a scientific fact that serves to validate our interrelationship with our universe. A connection that has been repeatedly suggested by the spiritual sages of many cultures and by artists of many schools.  And, to factually validate that we are all interconnected to the universe and to all things in between is breathtaking.

The world view of many humans is depicted by this wonderful cartoon recently portrayed on Facebook by Taller Filosófico Sociológico (Sociological Philosophy Workshop) . The hierarchal perspective does not represent the real world. Indeed, we humans are an interdependent pattern in Nature that contains a legacy that is represented in both living organisms and non-living natural objects.  Like the rocks, mountains, lions, and ants, we are all made from the same basic atomic materials. We are equal partners with everything else in the universe.

Physics central offers a wonderful explanation of the science of our interconnection with the universe. Hydrogen atoms were formed by the Big Bang and not by the stars. But, every other  element in the periodic table is created by the process of nuclear fusion that takes place in stars . Therefore, every element, except hydrogen, is “stardust”.  The general term “stardust” is not just Peter Pan. It is a romantic  description of those elements that are created by stars and are an integral part of every living and non-living thing on earth and the rest of the universe. Excluding the hydrogen atoms in our bodies, the number of stardust atoms in our body is some 40% of all atoms. Some 93% of the mass in our bodies is stardust. Because the very makeup of everything in the universe contains stardust, in a real sense our ancestors are the stars. By being composed of elements that are created by stars, we are indeed interconnected with our universe. And, we share each of these elements with every rock and bird and fish and grizzly bear that we see. 

In a very real and factual sense, as Neil deGrasse Tyson puts it “we are all connected”.  He does a beautiful job of portraying our interconnection with the universe in this short video:

Enjoy “Symphony of Science – We Are All Connected” starring Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Feynman, and Bill Nye. 

Thanks for reading this blog post. The purpose for these blogs is to develop a dialog between myself and my readers. You are encouraged to offer your comments in the space provided below.

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My name is Bill Graham. As a Marine Biologist who has worked in the US and Mexico for 30 years, I am a student of Nature, a teacher, a researcher, and a nature photographer. Through my work, I have acquired an ever growing passion for how everything in Nature is connected. Today, I travel extensively contemplating about, writing about, and photographing Nature’s connections. I also work with conservation projects in the USA and Mexico and mentor talented youth.

3 thoughts on “We Are All Stardust”

  1. Bill,

    As a current artist and former student of Science, I am looking forward to your future blogs. I have just begun to research the fact that we are stardust, and have begun to work on a series reflecting that.

    Thank you!


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