Stardust to Gold - Universal Evolution and My Wedding Ring
The Constructal Law of physics governs cosmic and biological evolution
How did all those gold atoms get back together?
We know that all the heavy elements in the universe are created exclusively in the massive explosions of very large stars, called supernovas. So rare are these that an average galaxy of 100 billion stars sees only one supernova about every hundred years. For a few days, the supernova may outshine the entire galaxy as it sprays atoms of all the elements on the periodic table into interstellar space.
These rare supernovas and perhaps even rarer mega-explosions are the only place in the universe where gold is created.
Over billions of years, the atoms become part of vast galactic clouds and nebula. Then, a passing gravity wave might precipitate a wave of star formation, like water vapor suddenly condensing into clouds.
The nuclei of the forming stars pull in more and more dust, harvesting and concentrating angular momentum, creating spinning eddies around the central star–to–be. These spinning clouds condense into planets, not randomly but following the Constructal Law of physics, which governs the evolution of all matter and energy flows.
Billions of years later, we humans come onto the scene. Our planet is 90% molten iron and magma hotter than 1000 degrees C. On the surface floats a thin crust, 70% covered in water. On the remaining 25%, we evolve opposable thumbs to poke around amongst the planetary detritus.
One might think that gold atoms would be diffused throughout the mass of the earth and its rocks, virtually undetectable in their rarity.
But in reality, the earth is a giant, evolving refinery, churning, folding, scraping, compressing, and melting, creating trillions of Constructal flows, each creating more access to flows of its own kind until much of the gold (and many other elements) on the earth becomes concentrated in a few specific locations.
The fact that I exist to wear a gold wedding band is testimony to billions of years of evolution of the inanimate physical universe and billions of years of biological evolution, all following the same immutable Constructal Law of physics.
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