SETI Re: Star Stuff

Larry Klaes (
Thu, 17 Jun 1999 18:24:35 -0400

>Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 17:21:58 -0500 >Reply-To: History of Astronomy Discussion Group <HASTRO-L@WVNVM.WVNET.EDU> >Sender: History of Astronomy Discussion Group <HASTRO-L@WVNVM.WVNET.EDU> >From: Timothy Bratton <bratton@ACC.JC.EDU> >Subject: Re: Star Stuff >Comments: To: Craig McConnell <cmcconne@STUDENTS.WISC.EDU> >To: HASTRO-L@WVNVM.WVNET.EDU > >On Thu, 17 Jun 1999, Craig McConnell wrote: > >> I have been trying to find the origin of the quote that expresses the >> sentiment >> We are made of the stuff of stars (or) >> We are made of star stuff. >> ... but I have the feeling this must go back to the early 20th century >> when the notion of stellar nucleosynthesis was advanced. Sagan wrote in >>_Cosmos_ >> "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." (pg. 233--1980). > >Dear Craig: > Perhaps Sagan was paraphrasing Fred Hoyle. In his _Frontiers of >Astronomy_ (N.Y., N.Y.: Mentor Books, 1955; reprinted 1960), page 201, >Hoyle remarks, ". . . we moved to exploding stars, then to the origin of >the material of the Earth. The rocks of the mantle, the iron of the >Earth's core, the objects that we handle in everyday life all were at one >time inside a supernova. The carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen inside >ourselves were once deep inside a star, inside a particularly spectacular >sort of star that scattered its material by explosion into interstellar >space where it became available for the process that led to the origin of >the Sun and planets." Possibly other Hoyle works contain a quotation >closer to that of Sagan. Other possibilities might be George Gamow and >Hans Bethe, all of whom were involved with working out fusion reactions in >stars from the late 1930s through the 1960s. > >Dr. Timothy L. Bratton >Department of History/Pol. Science work: 1-701-252-3467, ext. 2022 >6006 Jamestown College home: 1-701-252-8895 >Jamestown, ND 58405 home phone/fax: 1-701-252-7507 > > "I assume full responsibility for my actions, except those which >are everybody else's faults." >

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