Atom Facts April/12/2019
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11Most of them [body's atoms] are 13.7 billion years old, made shortly after the Big BangTRUE! Cited research paper notes raw materials being created following the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago
12 field of science called astrochemistry, which is the study of molecules in the universe. It can tell us that your atoms haven’t all come from the same place.TRUE! This description fits the meaning of the astrochemistry field given by, the claim that it shows our atoms haven't all come from the same place is verified as a product of confirming the other claims listed below
13the average person is made of seven octillion atoms. That is a seven followed by twenty-seven zeroes!TRUE! Jefferson labs confirms the math involved, confirms the term octillion
14about four octillion of them are hydrogen atoms, and we can roughly trace their history. They were made just after the Big Bang and floated in vast, ghostly clouds in interstellar space for billions of years.TRUE! Jefferson labs marks down its estimate at 4.7 octillion while article from reports on discovered gas cloud that confirms this view of hydrogen forming gas clouds in the (relatively) early moments after the big bang
15would have been witness to one of the most sublime visions in the universe: the formation of the Milky Way galaxy through a veil of a nebula.TRUE! With the confirmation of hydrogen gas clouds being among earliest steps in formation of the cosmos it being witness to the formation of our galaxy can be taken for granted.
16remaining three octillion atoms of your body were also in the dust cloud but had a very different experience. Like bubbles caught in a colossal riptide, they were pulled into the gravity well of a still-unborn giant star. This star was not our Sun but was one of its ancestors.TRUE! notes this process for the formation of an ancestor star to be accurate while pbs notes a leading theory regarding a nearby supernova causing the formation of our own solar system. PBS does note that there is some debate on the details here with the belief that rather than a supernova simply the radiation of a nearby dying star caused our own nebula to collapse and so I'll flag this to note a potential deviation from the story for your judgement but from what I see the story presented here still fits well into the established science.
17pressure felt by your atoms climbed to over 250 billion times the pressure of our current atmosphere.TRUE! The core of our own sun is measured as 250 billion atmospheres, however an technicality may be noted here as the first stars may have had a higher pressure do to their mass being somes times bigger than our own sun acording to source 2. However I'd consider using our own sun to be a perfectly reasonable benchmark for this part of the story so I would personally reccomend no change here, though I will flag it just in case.
18Three octillion of your atoms spent hundreds of millions of years hereTRUE (likely)! Our own sun is listed as having a lifespan of nearly 10 billion years, however more massive stars burn fuel more quickly with one extreme example Eta Carinae having a lifespan just under 5 million years while being 150 times the size of earth's sun.
29Some atoms fell deep into the star’s core. Here they were subject to pressure that was extreme compared even to the rest of the star, and atoms of hydrogen fused together to become helium and other elements, releasing blasts of light.TRUE! Description by Cornell notes the reaction in the core involving th creation of helium. Pressure being greater in the core is also accurate and actualy makes the 250 billion atmosphere figure flagged earlier less problematic since if we assume a star more massive than the sun we could reasonably expect the outer pressure to be more comparable to our sun's core pressure with this star's core pressure in fact being larger than that 250 billion atmospheres figure.
210burned through all of its hydrogen and as its light began to dim, other elements like helium were pulled into the core to make carbon and oxygen.TRUE! Cornell notes this process as part of a star's Red Giant lifecycle
211Eventually the star erupted in a supernova explosion, a blast so violent that it can be seen from across a galaxy.TRUE! The possibility of a supernova is noted by Cornell and the importance of it erupting into a supernova is noted by PBS
212The searing explosion fused other atoms, creating more oxygen and carbon. The resulting shockwave pushed them back into the remnants of the original hydrogen gas cloud, disrupting it and seeding it with new atoms. As its shockwave impacted surrounding gas, it compressed millions of miles of hydrogen and oxygen together to form icy water.TRUE! Article by natgeo notes the formation of heavier elements following a supernova while an article from nature notes the abundance of ice among our solar system's initial environment. The timeline could vary here somewhat with ice-water having existed before the supernova and the explosion having limited the amount of water to allow for life as we know it to have developed but so long as the story falls in line with accepted science, other versions of the story existing should be fine.
213Once again, the gas cloud began to collapse but this time, it was full of ice and new rocky elements, which clumped together and grew larger and larger.TRUE! PBS notes the Supernova->collapsing gas cloud -> solar system theory
214From the dust cloud and the remnants of the giant star, hundreds of new, smaller stars were forming. One of them was our Sun.TRUE! University of Oregon shows the that young stars tend to cluster around eachother due to having been created from the supernovas of massive older stars that collapsed dust clouds.
215Some of the cloud was pulled into the Sun’s gravity well, destined to be captured and set adrift in the internal stellar storms all over again. But some of the gas and rocks found themselves not being pulled in to the star, but held in orbit in a vast ring called an ‘accretion disc’.TRUE! The formation of accretion disks around stars is noted by Brittanica
216they collided with each other, forming larger and larger asteroids in a series of impacts until they grew to the size of planets, which were bombardment by asteroids for hundreds of millions of years.TRUE! Material from Arizona U notes how comets, planets, etc. formed from the accretion disk as well as the bombardment process planets underwent. The timeline of hundreds of millions of years is best supported by second article from since it notes the Late Heavy Bombardment period which persisted after the formation of the planet (which is where the timeline in the first article stops) and gives us a top end of 200 million years which supports the numbers used.
317As it ignited, the Sun released a series of immense shockwaves that impacted the new planets and determined the shape of the new ‘solar system’. They pushed most of the gas towards the outer planets, where it formed the gas giants Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus.Some contention... According to an exhibit in the AMNH The ignition of the sun caused solar winds which pushed gas in the system away and thsi fits with the presented story. However notes that the timeline might be a bit off, the gas planets were capable of drawing in and keeping in these gases before the sun ignited and the sun's ignition simply pushed the uncollected gasses away, clearing the system of most of it. Another article from NASA supports this with the Grand Tack theory which holds that Jupiter had formed closer to the inner planets by Mars and was only later pushed into the outer rings.
318The heavy, rocky material closest to the sun was left behind by the shockwave, and it formed the small, rocky planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, with a thin remnant of atmosphere.TRUE! This fits with the description of the of the planets from Arizona U, barring some potential changes of chronology discussed in entry 17.

319Here on Earth, they began to cycle through the air, land, and water. At this point, it’s hard to track exactly where your atoms went, but we do know that they have been very well recycled. They no doubt combined into different molecules and broke down again billions of times, but the atoms themselves never degraded.TRUE! Washington Post notes the constant recycling of star-made atoms in a Dear Science: segment.
320"Every atom you possess has almost certainly ...." -Bill Bryson
A Short History of Nearly Everything
TRUE! Google books confirms the quote
421Others may have been used in one of the mandibles of a five-eyed Opabinia regalis, a tiny three-inch predator during the Cambrian Explosion.TRUE! scientific name, five eyes, age in which it lived, and status as a carnivorous predator confirmed by royal museum of ontario. Its size is classified as being 2.7 inches on the top-end, though this does not include its probuscis which should push it to the point where 3-inch description fits enough for my taste.
422very recently part of a plant, probably corn or wheat. It pulled carbon dioxide molecules floating in the air and by using the Sun’s light as a catalyst, the green cells of the plant combined them into a long carbohydrate molecule.TRUE! This is an accurate description of photosyntehsis as described by Brittanica
423It’s in a constant cycle of rain and evaporation driven by the heat of the sun, while occasionally getting diverted into the belly of a plant or animal. You might have seen a diagram of the water cycle like the one below in school, but what it doesn’t make clear is the scale of this process. Water is exchanged across the entire surface of the Earth, for billions of years at a time.TRUE! This is an accurate description of the water cycle, with natgeo confirming the massive 4 billion year span of the process
524Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria across the the Atlantic, or an avalanche that toppled one of Hannibal’s elephants down the Alps, or part of the iceberg that sank the Titanic.TRUE! History channel confirms Columb's/Santa Maria traveling across the Atlantic, the Guardian recounts Hannibals impressive elephant acompanied trek through the alps, and finally Wired provides a citation for the iceberg that sunk the Titanic.
525In fact, they [atoms of the body] are completely replaced once every ten years.Not Quite: It's true that on average our body's cells replace themselves every 7-10 years. However, certain cells remain with us for longer like skeletal muscle sticking around for 15 years and about half of the cells in our heart being with us from birth to death due to its incredibly slow growth rate and certain cells like neurons and the core of our eyeballs aren't replaced at all.

It would be accurate to say that the cells in our body are undergowing a constant cycle of replacement, growth and rebirt but the blanket statement of being Ship of Theseused every 10 years isn't factual.
526“Think of an experience from your childhood...."Steve GrandCreation: Life and How to Make It
TRUE, (flagging for notes)! Copy from Google Books confirms this quote with the exception of an aside and about two lines cut from the original with the comparison of us to clouds. I consider this an acceptable edit personally especially since most secondary sources also leave out that line but flagging for completion's sake. Additonally there is the matter of the common misconception about the total replacement of human cells but that is already reffered to in citation 25 and regardless the overall meaning and philosophy behind the quote remains intact.'s%20the%20bombshell%3A%20You%20weren%E2%80%99t%20there.%20Not%20a%20single%20atom%20that%20is%20in%20your%20body%20today%20was%20there%20when%20that%20event%20took%20place.%20Matter%20flows%20from%20place%20to%20place%20and%20momentarily%20comes%20together%20to%20be%20you.%20Whatever%20you%20are%2C%20therefore%2C%20you%20are%20not%20the%20stuff%20of%20which%20you%20are%20made.%20If%20that%20doesn%E2%80%99t%20make%20the%20hair%20stand%20up%20on%20the%20back%20of%20your%20neck%2C%20read%20it%20again%20until%20it%20does.&f=false
627“The very dust that blows along..." -Hallam Hawksworth
The Adventures of a Grain of Dust
TRUE! Quote confirmed by Google Books
628After another 5 billion years of cycling around the Earth, all atoms on the Earth will be scorched by the Sun as it expands into the final stage of its life, a red giant. The Sun’s outer layers will inflate until they engulf Mercury, Venus, and finally the Earth. Any life that has not found a way to leave the Earth by this point will be, in a word, cookedTRUE! NASA confirms life expectancy of Sun and that it will swallow up the Earth after approx. 5 billion years. Earthsky confirms the same.
629Eventually like the ancestor stars that preceded it, the Sun will explode, returning new atoms to a cold, dark cloud in space. Then the star cycle begins anew. Hundreds of new stars will form, and your atoms will be split amongst a new set of planets, moons, and maybe new forms of life.Not like the others: Our sun will 'explode' in its change between red giant and white dwarf, expelling a fair amount of its mass out into the cosmos. However I'm flagging this for context as th article has been talking about supernovas up to this point saying that our sun will explode like its ancestors suggests it will explode in a supernova which given its (relatively) low mass is not currently considered likely.
730Cosmologists believe that this cycle of death and rebirth of the stars will repeat about one hundred times, before the final star in the universe exhausts all fuel and the galaxies go dark.Maybe: Wired and attached study note that we're experiencing a massive downturn in star production suggesting our universe may have created most of its stars already. Medium notes that we may have a slightly sunnier (pun mostly intended) view with a universe capable of producing and maintaining red dwarfs for some trillions of years. However this is partially due to the incredibly long lifespans of red dwarfs so actual number of cycles may be low still.

The overall sentiment of the claim is correct and the number may even be a good approximation but I don't have a hard confirmation one way or the other of what the most accepted estimate at the moment is and divvying up projections of time until the universe is expected to go dark and the length of a cycle won't give me anything due to the varying length of star cycles as they get smaller and smaller as mentioned.
731What will follow is an era of black holes. All matter including your old atoms will either be consumed by them or flung into deep space from their gravity. After countless ages even the black holes disappear, evaporating into nothing but radiation.TRUE! Black holes dominating the Universe as a foreseeable end noted by Musuem of Greenwich.
732The view from a large asteroid in orbit around a black hole (img)To be honest I can't actually confirm if the image is an accurate simulation but I found what seems to be the original source of the image.
733One possibility is that, after any surviving atoms and radiation have spent an eternity travelling through the cold, dark remnants of the universe, they will decay into more basic particles. These particles will fill the universe in a ‘thermal equilibrium’, where every place in the universe is almost as cold as absolute zero, and no further exertion of energy becomes possible. This means no stars, life, or intelligence will be possible. It will remain in this state for all of eternity. This is called the heat death of the universe.TRUE! Description of the heat death follows in step with PBS' description and terminology fits with Brittanica's section on thermodynamics.
834A second, more hopeful possibility is that the expansion of the universe itself slows, and is reversed by the pull of its own gravity. After hundreds of billions of years, every atom and flash of radiation are brought back together until they rush to collapse into a single point. This is a reversal of the Big Bang, called the ‘Big Crunch’.3TRUE! Description of the Big Crunch fits with both PBS and Brittanica
835Many scientists believe that the Big Crunch will be the end of our universe, but it may be followed by something spectacular. A new Big Bang that creates a whole new universe, which may have new stars, new planets, and new life.TRUE! PBS echoes the possibility that following the Big Crunch a new Big bang would kickstart the universe in a continuation of the cycle.