Scientific issues and innovations are figuring into everyday conversation more than ever before. Recognizing that we could all use some brushing up, Seed offers its Cribsheet.
Carl Sagan famously said, “We are made of star stuff,” and how right he was. While hydrogen and helium formed shortly after the big bang, the heavier elements—the stuff that makes up the Earth and its inhabitants—come from stars. This cribsheet covers the formation of the elements: how they were created, when they first came into existence, and what we can learn about our early universe from the matter that is here today. In addition, we tell you which elements are most abundant and how a star’s luminosity and temperature determine what it produces.
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Illustrator: Cybu Richli, Switzerland, www.cybu.ch; Writer: Lee Billings; Consultants: Bradley S. Meyer, Clemson University; Gary Steigman, Ohio State University; Abundance Data: K Lodders (2003). “Solar System Abundances and Condensation Temperatures of the Elements.” The Astrophysical Journal 591 1220-1247.
Originally published January 18, 2007