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Construction of the Universe

  1. Aug 17, 2007 #1
    1. Would it be true to say that everything of substance in the Universe is made up of various combinations of hydrogen atoms, with neutrons thrown into everything except hydrogen itself?

    2. Are all protons, neutrons, and electrons made of the same material, and what is it called?? Atomic matter, maybe??
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 17, 2007 #2
    protons and neutrons are made from quarks which along with electrons are the elementary particles
  4. Aug 17, 2007 #3
    Perhaps I worded my question poorly---let me rephrase it, using carbon for the example. Do you think that carbon was "born" as carbon, or was it a hydrogen atom that picked up a neutron (becoming deutrium), then went through fusion 5 times with 5 other deutrium atoms, thus becoming carbon. In other words, did all the elements start off as a hydrogen atom?
  5. Aug 17, 2007 #4


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    Yes - The protons and electrons ( and some neutrons) were all created in the big bang.
    A proton and an electron together form a hydrogen atom.
    Stars combine hydrogen atoms together by nuclear fussion to make helium, carbon, silicon etc all the way upto iron.
    (The actual pathways of which elements are conbined to get which others in what order are fairly simple. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proton-proton_chain and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CNO_cycle)

    To make anything heavier than iron you need the much higher energies of an exploding star - a supernova.
  6. Aug 17, 2007 #5
    Cool---thanks for the answers.
  7. Aug 18, 2007 #6


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    Also you can check out "Big Bang nucleosynthesis" and "Stellar nucleosynthesis"
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