Sunday, September 9, 2007

Continuing the study of the universe

I hold in my fingers a tiny scrap of aluminum, a bit of debris from the bird cage in the living room.

I blogged a few weeks ago about the Big Bang and how stars formed. In those stars, all the elements that make up our world were formed, by the fusion of hydrogen or helium atoms.

Now I have learned that our own sun incorporates some of those elements that formed during the existence of two other stars which were born and died.

Our own earth has a core of iron, which during the early, molten stage of the planet, drew in elements with an affinity for iron. Elements with an affinity for oxygen, like this aluminum, rose to the surface.

So this shiny scrap of aluminum tells a story from the violent childhood of our Earth. Seems a shame to throw it away.

Aluminum is a fascinating element anyway -- how scientists finally learned to free it from bauxite -- but I'll go into that some other time.

4 comments:

...Kat said...

I LOVE the way British pronounce aluminum, the most abundant metal in the earth's crust I am told :-)

chipazoid said...

I didn't even realise that you spelt it aluminum instead of aluminium.

leslie said...

Recycle!
Do you have recycle stations in your town, and what is the going rate these days for cans? 25 cents per pound?

eastcoastdweller said...

Of course I recycle, Leslie! But what I had in my hands was a scrap the size of a paper clip. Guess I could toss it into the bin though.