Science Seminars

2/23/2017 – Karel Schrijver; Living with the Stars: How the Human Body is Connected to the Life Cycles of the Earth, the Planets, and the Stars

Speaker: Karel Schrijver (Lockheed Martin)
Date: Wednesday, Feb 23, 2022
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: Fiske Planetarium

Seminar Abstract:

This talk connects the life cycles of stars to the life cycles of human cells by tracing the multi-faceted histories of the elements that make us. The body that is with us all our lives is always changing. We are quite literally not who we were years, weeks, or evendays ago: our cells die and are replaced by new ones at an astonishing pace. The entire body continually rebuilds itself using elements captured from our surroundings and are thereby connected to animals and plants around us and to the bacteria within us that help digest them, and to geological processes such as continental drift and volcanism here on Earth. We are also intimately linked to the Sun’s nuclear furnace and to the solar wind, to collisions with asteroids and to the cycles of the birth of stars and their deaths in cataclysmic supernovae, and ultimately to the beginning of the universe. Our bodies are made of the burned out embers of stars that were released into the galaxy in massive explosions billions of years ago, mixed with atoms that formed only recently as ultrafast rays slammed into Earth’s atmosphere. All of that is not just remote history but part of us now: our cells age, die, and are replaced on average once every 7 years.

This presentation will be at Fiske Planetarium.

FREE tickets are available on a first come, first served basis. Tickets will ONLY be available starting at 4:30 p.m. on the day of the event.