What do atoms have to do with your life? In Your Atomic Self, scientist Curt Stager reveals how they connect you to some of the most amazing things in the universe.
You will follow your oxygen atoms through fire and water and from forests to your fingernails. Hydrogen atoms will wriggle into your hair and betray where you live and what you have been drinking. The carbon in your breath will become tree trunks, and the sodium in your tears will link you to long-dead oceans. The nitrogen in your muscles will help to turn the sky blue, the phosphorus in your bones will help to turn the coastal waters of North Carolina green, the calcium in your teeth will crush your food between atoms that were mined by mushrooms, and the iron in your blood will kill microbes as it once killed a star.
You will also discover that much of what death must inevitably do to your body is already happening among many of your atoms at this very moment and that, nonetheless, you and everyone else you know will always exist somewhere in the fabric of the universe.
You are not only made of atoms; you are atoms, and Your Atomic Self, in essence, is an atomic field guide to yourself.
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Curt Stager has a Ph.D. in biology and geology from Duke University. He has been published in Science, National Geographic, and Fast Company, wrote the books Field Notes from the Northern Forest and Our Future Earth, and co-hosts Natural Selections, a weekly science program on North Country Public Radio. He teaches at Paul Smith’s College in upstate New York and holds a research associate post at the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute.