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The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff - Carl Sagan, Cosmos
While the saying “we are stardust” seems poetic but vague, it is literally true. The atoms of our bodies were created in the cores of stars billions of years ago.
As the programme notes make clear, "À La Recherche du Temps Perdu has been called the definitive modern novel. Proust's stylistic innovation, sensory exploration and fascination with memory were to influence a whole body of thinkers, and innumerable critics and novelists since. But how did he succeed in creating a 3000 page novel with such an artistic coherence?'"
Imagine our universe as only one of an infinite number of possible universes - be they "Quilted", "Brane" or, most strangely of all, "Ultimate". Brian Green tackled this almost mystical idea head-on in The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos. Greene discussed his ideas further during a March 2011 edition of Start the Week.
Imagine too flying through the universe. This animated flight through the universe shows close to 400,000 galaxies, and was derived at John Hopkins University from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
Another video meanwhile takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang.
According to Thor Heyerdahl, it is almost impossible grasp the meaning of time. He didn't believe it exists and he felt this again and again, when alone and out in nature. As Henry Ford said, it feels at such moments that "life is just one damn thing after another". Nevertheless, in the BBC’s The Wonders of the Universe, Brian Cox argued that, thanks to the second law of thermodynamics, entropy means that does indeed flow, and in only one direction.
"As a species, we can never know where our true potential lies until we confront the systems that keep us tied to the past. And that is where the true adventure will begin" - Thomas Frey
What if we were not fixated by today's headlines and concentrated instead on the "long news", i.e. the stories that may still be important years, decades, even centuries from now.
The Forum looked at "home" from a number of thought-provoking angles, by asking:
- What role does legend play in shaping our sense of a homeland?
- Does it matter that rural regions are shrinking as villagers leave their homes to seek their fortune in new cities?
- Are we alone in the universe, or are there other planets we could inhabit? (Some scientists believe there could be 10,000 civilisations in our galaxy alone.)
Ownership and interior decorations and garden designs may change over 30 years, but if location and bricks and mortar and dreams and memories remain the same, is somewhere still home?
Every atom in our bodies was fused in the body of an ancient star. NASA astronomer Dr. Michelle Thaller explains how the iron in our blood connects us to one of the most violent acts in the universe- a supernova explosion - and what the universe might look like when all the stars die out.