THIS SONG IS ABOUT YOU!
AND IT'S ABOUT EVERY SINGLE LIVING CREATURE,
EVERY PERSON, EVERY SPECIES, EVERY TRIBE,
EVERY PARTICLE IN, AROUND, ON AND BEYOND PLANET EARTH.
IT'S ABOUT EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING
EVERY PIECE OF THE WHOLE
WE ARE ALL PART OF IT ALL,
IT'S ALL ONE LIFE ALL THE WAY THROUGH!
We hope you enjoy this song!
Here are a few quasi-empirical footnotes for this song:
There are about 50 trillion atoms in each of the cells in your body and there are about 50 trillion cells in your body. Our minds, including the one you are reading this with, cannot really wrap themselves around such a number. But fortunately for all of us, every one of those cells works just fine without us understanding anything at all about it, or even knowing that cells exist. How should we define "smart?"
Besides this amazing, self organizing and harmonious teamwork, there are at least 10 times as many bacteria cells (call it 500 trillion! - not counting viruses) living inside of you, who also get along fine, most of the time, with you as their home "planet." So there "you" are, 50 trillion cells plus a lot of smaller "inhabitants" working cooperatively together more or less in perfectly coordinated harmony with the prime purpose of being you, doing your part in the greater whole of life - which is incomprehensively complex and completely beyond measurement or comprehension.
About DNA - the basic design language for you and every other life form on earth: each one of the dozens of strands of your DNA is about 2 angstroms thick and each strand is still about 6 to 9 feet long - each of the several dozen strands of DNA in each of your cells is coiled up elegantly and fitted into the nucleus of each cell.
If a DNA strand was enlarged to be as thick as one of your hairs - it would be about as long as a football field - 360 feet. Putting it another way, if your own personal human DNA was stretched out end to end (at its actual size) the total length would be enough to reach to the sun and back again - 60 times. That's about 5.7 billion miles.
An atom is mostly "empty." Textbook diagrams of atoms with a nucleus are not drawn to scale because it cannot be done. If a nucleus was 1 mm in diameter, the atom would be 10 meters across. If a person with a 40 cm girth was the "nucleus" of an "atom", the edge of the "atom" would be 2 kilometers away. In a solid where atoms are closely packed, the distance to the next adjacent nuclei would be equivalent to two students standing 4 km apart. That's an awesome amount of "empty" in every "thing" everywhere.
"Given the very approximate nature of these calculations, any one of these estimates could be off by one or two orders of magnitude, but it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the total amount of DNA in living organisms is on the order of 10^25 km, which is equivalent to a distance of 10^12 light years, or 10 times the diameter of the known universe". "Bacterial cells are much smaller than human cells, and there are at least ten times as many bacteria as human cells in the body".
Given all the above, it's probably safe to say "30 to 50 trillion". (This obviously doesn't take into account any of the bacteria mentioned above.)
"the fact that the carbon, nitrogen and oxygen atoms in our bodies, as well as atoms of all other heavy elements, were created in previous generations of stars over 4.5 billion years ago. Because humans and every other animal as well as most of the matter on Earth contain these elements, we are literally made of star stuff "
"An atom is mostly 'empty'"
Discussion: Atomic and nucleus size
Ask your students to suggest a scale model of the nuclear atom. For example: if a nucleus was
1 mm diameter, an atom would be 10,000 times larger or 10 m in diameter. Choose a suitable position for a 1 mm nucleus (a small ball bearing or ball of Blu-tac). Pace out 5 m (five large steps) to the edge of the atom where the electrons are. NB: textbook diagrams of an atom with a nucleus are not drawn to scale.
"Reinforce an accurate picture by getting a student to stand up as a 'nucleus', estimate their 'girth' (40 cm?) and ask where another student would have stand to be at the edge of the 'atom'. (104 times 40 cm = 4000 m, so the radius of this "atom" is 2 km! "
Further reinforcement: in a solid where atoms are close packed, the distance between adjacent nuclei ~ the size of an atom, i.e. equivalent to two students standing 4 km apart!
"You have shrunk down to about 3 millionths of your normal size. You are now about 0.5 micrometers tall -
At this scale, a medium-sized human cell looks as long, high, and wide as a football field. But from where we are, you can't see nearly that far. Look down. Notice the slight curve? You're standing on a somewhat spherical structure about 50 feet in diameter. It's the nucleus ...