Around 450 BC, the Greek philosopher Empedocles created that the world was comprised of 4 things: earth, air, fire and also water. Plato referred to them together the 4 elements. These to be not facets in the modern-day sense, however rather essences the gave every little thing their physics properties. The idea that everything was do of these an essential elements had actually a deep affect on beforehand Western science. It was a main aspect of alchemy until Robert Boyle demonstrated over there were more than four aspects in 1661. The four elements likewise connected come the four humours the the person body, which created a communication of Western medication until the 1800s.

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The diversity of facets in the human body.ASU college of Life SciencesThe variety of aspects in the person body.

Over the previous two centuries, we have gained a much much better understanding the the atomic elements and how they have formed. Among the things we have actually learned is that we—and every various other living thing on Earth—are comprised mostly of four elements. These 4 atomic elements are oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and also nitrogen. Together they make up about 96% of ours bodies, as you can see in the number above. There room 92 naturally occurring elements top top Earth, from hydrogen come uranium, so why do these four make up such a bulk of life things? component of the reason lies in the fact that they are versatile elements, qualified of producing a vast array of chemistry compounds, yet it likewise has to perform with the fact that castle are amongst the most abundant facets in the universe. To recognize why, we have to look come the stars.

The very first elements appeared a few minutes after the large bang, with a process known together nucleosynthesis. The facets produced by the huge bang consist of of around 75% hydrogen and also 25% helium (by mass) through trace amounts of lithium and also beryllium. For the following several hundred million years only these four aspects existed. Climate the first stars appeared. They formed from big clouds that hydrogen and helium, and as they fell down under their very own weight the hydrogen in your cores started to fuse right into helium.

The energy developed by this nuclear blend gives a star the light and heat important to counter the force of gravity for a time, however as a star ages the quantity of helium in the stellar main point increased. Together helium become an ext plentiful in the stars core, several of it fuses right into carbon. The carbon interacts v the hydrogen to produce nitrogen and also oxygen as well as helium, v a procedure known as the CNO cycle. As a star ages the CNO cycle i do not care the dominant process by i beg your pardon a star creates light and heat. As a result, these facets become relatively plentiful within a star.

The very first stars space thought to have actually been very big stars. Toward the finish of a their lives they developed even more heavier elements, such together silicon, neon, and also eventually iron. Beyond iron there are no aspects a star can fuse to produce energy. After numerous hundred thousand years these an initial stars had no further method to develop energy, and in the finish they explode in a massive explosion well-known as a supernova. The gas and also dust remnants of these stars to be tossed out into the universe. Gradually this gas and also dust became part of clouds that formed brand-new stars, which likewise fused hydrogen and also helium into heavier aspects until castle too died in supernova explosions.

Then about five exchange rate years ago a cloud of gas and dust began to type a new star. Many thanks to the lives and deaths of earlier generations of stars this cloud was well-off not simply in hydrogen and also helium, but also in carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and also iron. As the star formed, several of the dust formed a disk around the star, the end of which formed planets. The third planet indigenous this star had the great fortune of being not as well close to the star and not too far away. It had actually plenty the hydrogen and oxygen in the type of water, as well as carbon and nitrogen, all thanks to long dead stars. Ultimately life showed up on this small world, and took advantage of this useful and also plentiful elements.

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The atom in her body save on computer the history of the universe. The hydrogen in your body was born amongst the first elements, about 13.7 billion year ago. The carbon, nitrogen and also oxygen in your muscles and also mind were created within a star that died more than 5 billion year ago.