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Atoms that make up the body do they come from

  1. Sep 21, 2010 #1
    hello im very new to this stuff and i hear that atoms make up everything we know . but i was wondering about the atoms that make up our bodys do they come from what we eat and maybe the sun and we make them into what we need to grow and live ? or can completly new atoms be created within the body . because i thought that all the atoms there ever will be are already around and they can only come together to make other atoms . sorry for the stupid questions and thanks for any answers or pointers
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 21, 2010 #2


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    The atoms in your body come from food, water, and air (plus anything else?) that you take in. No new atoms are created in your body. Sunlight is essentially energy, so no new atoms from here.
  4. Sep 21, 2010 #3
    Generally speaking, living organisms (such as in our bodies) are made of cells, cells are made of molecules, and molecules are made of atoms.

    The sun provides energy (as sunlight and heat) to rearrange the atoms of molecules in plants (what is called chemical reactions).
  5. Sep 21, 2010 #4
    Thanks for the answers . so just the atoms and the subatomic parts but how and why did they become a living thing . know any understandable links on this subject ive probly seen it somewhere but cant remember anything on the first sells being made
  6. Sep 22, 2010 #5
    That's biology.
  7. Sep 23, 2010 #6


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    The ultimate answer to that question has to do with the beginnings of life on our planet about 3 billion years ago or so.
  8. Sep 23, 2010 #7


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    abiogenesis is the proper name for the study of how life emerged.

    From a physical point of view, it's a matter of the interactions between the matter. Somehow, a stable, cyclic interaction gets set up, and somehow, it is able to evolve... to change the nature of the interactions and propagate these interactions onto other matter as it consumes it. The details of the interaction are the subject of many disciplines nowadays.
  9. Sep 23, 2010 #8
    Thanks for all the answers . il go check some abiogenesis . seems like to get from an atom to a living thing is a very big jump . is something watching us .......?
  10. Sep 23, 2010 #9
    I see it this way. At some point, chemical reactions can become so complex that we categorize the result as a "living thing". (it's not necessarily the case, but you get the idea)

    We can all be proud to be the result of perhaps the most complex set of chemical reactions known.
  11. Sep 23, 2010 #10
    This could be a bit over your head right now but it's a white paper rather than a research report so it's fairly "understandable". The basic idea is that the Krebs (or citric acid) metabolic cycle common to (almost?) all life may be "inevitable" given the presumed conditions around early volcanic ocean vents:

    There's also a lot of active work in "artificial life" and "protocell" formation -- Steen Rassmussen is the editor of one book on the subject. The bottom line is that the gap may be narrowing but it hasn't been closed yet...
  12. Sep 23, 2010 #11
    Only in chemistry - in astronomy we can make new atoms!

    All the atoms in your body heavier than hydrogen were made in stars and new atoms are still being made in stars now. Most of the metals in your body and all the metal heavier than iron was made in a supernova when a massive star exploded billions of years ago.

    A few of the atoms in your body were made from other atoms by nuclear reactions more recently. All the C14 was made from nitrogen in the atmossphere by radiation from the sun, and if you were born after the nuclear tests of the 50s and 60s you have a few man made atoms from those in your body.
  13. Oct 4, 2010 #12
    Firstly, atoms or matter (or anything of that sort) can't be made nor can it be destroyed. Everything that you see around you is the product of the "Big Bang" that happened a long time ago. The same goes for energy (it cannot be created of destroyed), harvesting solar energy or wind energy (or any other renewable or non-renewable sources of energy) is just the conversion of the energy from other forms to electricity (in most cases). So technically, even the food we eat had originally come from the big bang, also, the energy the food provides us for our sustainability is also an infinitely small amount of energy from the big bang!
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