A Speck of Insight

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At some point in my life, I have asked questions about the origins and purpose of life, the planet Earth, and the universe itself. And I believe that I am not alone in this quest. I believe that most of us, if not all, have undergone the same philosophical questions in life. But all our efforts are used to put up the pieces of an infinite puzzle in place. No amount of research would be able to provide a definite and conclusive answer. We do, however, have theories that attempts to explain the creation of all existence, the most popular of which is the Big Bang Theory.

Back when I was in grade 9, I remember memorizing the periodic table of elements and learning laboratory tools and equipment first before going into the deeper concepts of Chemistry. Back when I was in grade 10, I recall defining terminologies such as work, power, acceleration, mass, etc. first before taking up complex topics in Physics. For grade 11, we are taking up Physical Science. We first watched a movie entitled “The History of the World in Two Hours.” It is intriguing to start with the subject about the Big Bang Theory. It is intriguing because it tells us that before everyone and everything else in the universe, there was nothing but darkness. So allow me to share to you what I already know about the Big Bang.

The Big Bang is a theory that lays the origins and foundations of the universe. It all started 13.7 billion years ago when a tremendous explosion, rather termed as expansion, occurred from a tiny bundle of energy smaller than an atom in our infant universe. All the energy that ever exists or will ever exist was created by then.

380,000 years later, the first atoms emerged. Hydrogen was the first element formed and it is used by the universe to make everything in the world around us.

300 million years after the big bang, gravity continuously squeeze together clouds of gas and dust causing great pressure and heat. When temperature reaches 18 million degrees Fahrenheit, Hydrogen atoms clash to form new energy, stars, and the element Helium.

Aside from light, stars manufacture elements such as 25 of the most common elements we need to live with including Carbon, Oxygen, Iron, and Nitrogen. Some heavier elements like Uranium, Gold, and Copper were created by Supernovas which are stars that exploded. As stars explode and are reborn over the next 8 billion years, enough materials were gathered to create the sun as well as gravity to build the planets. And that is how Earth came to be. However, Earth at its primitive stage was chaotic. It was a world that spins so rapidly that a day lasts for only 6 hours. Its surface was made up of rafts of black volcanic rocks and molten lava, with elements jumbled within.  Gravity puts order to the chaos. Lighter materials drift toward the surface and form a solid crust, while heavier materials sink toward the center forming a molten iron nickel core. This churning liquid metal is responsible for the formation of the Earth’s magnetic field which stretches out into space, protecting our planet from the sun’s harmful radiation.

4.4 billion years ago, Earth was too hot for liquid water to exist, but water vapor steamed in the atmosphere existed. As the Earth cooled down for millions of years, rain poured down which created puddles, lakes, and eventually the ocean.

Oxygen plays important roles in our planet. But it is first important to know that bacteria, by consuming the sun’s energy, forms oxygen. It is also important to know that Earth’s ancient seas are full of iron particles. And so, oxygen fuses with iron which creates rusted iron. This drove the industrial revolution today because these deposits are major sources of iron and steel. However, once there is no more iron in the sea to rust, bacteria will produce a lot of oxygen to the extent that it fills the ocean and escapes into the atmosphere. From then on Earth became a different planet, one like a home to us. Oxygen provided us with an ozone layer to further protect us from harmful rays of the sun, skies and the oceans became blue, lands appeared, and major animal groups evolved.

The History of the World in Two Hours explains the Big Bang Theory – everything and everyone in the universe and on Earth originated from stardust. Almost every element present was formed through the supernovas. And these elements are necessary for our living. Without the occurrence of the supernovas, we wouldn’t have iron in our blood as well as oxygen and carbon to breathe in and out.  Without some of the elements, we wouldn’t have the nutrients that we need. Furthermore, elements which are created by the supernovas allowed for the building of cities and some of mankind’s monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty.

Lastly, I have inferred from the film that energy since the beginning of time is conserved for the Big Bang Theory created all the energy that powers the stars which created the elements that we make use today. The formation of the oceans 4.4 billion years ago is an example of how energy is conserved. It goes on a water cycle, just like how it was presented in the film: from water vapor to rain, and then to the bodies of water. All the energy that exists and will ever exist was created by the Big Bang, and in order for creatures to survive they need to grab their share in this energy which is mostly given to us by the sun.

What I already know about the Big Bang is just a speck of insight to the infinite number of ideas that lie around. I must keep my mind expanding and have it radiate unto others. And though our questions and answers won’t lead us to a 100% certainty about the creation of all existence, these are the kinds of pursuit that endure. And that is actually what makes life beautiful – it is and will always be a mystery.  But as star dusts, we have to make use of our energy because the world would be a darker place without it.

 

 

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