I believe my friends are no strangers to the periodic table of elements, there are a total of 118 elements on it. Not all of these hundreds of elements are natural elements, 94 of which are elements that naturally exist in the universe, and the other 24 are artificially synthesized.
Scientists have arranged these elements according to their mass. The first is hydrogen, the second is helium, and the third is lithium, followed by beryllium, boron, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. Abundant elements make up the material world of the universe, and 94 kinds of natural elements also exist on life planets like the earth.
Scientists have synthesized 24 new elements through the power of science and technology, and with the continuous advancement of human technology, it is possible that more new elements will be synthesized in the future. We will not discuss those artificially synthesized elements. These artificially synthesized elements are synthesized based on the existence of natural elements. If there are no natural elements, there will be no artificial elements.
Abundant elements are very important for an ecological planet, because they are the key to the birth of life. Only rich elements can evolve the early primitive life. Human beings are intelligent life on the earth. Our human body contains a lot of elements, reaching more than 60 kinds, accounting for more than half of the 94 natural elements.
The continuation of human life is inseparable from so many elements. The lack of any of them will cause various problems in our body. Of course, these elements can be found in nature. In theory, the higher the element in the periodic table, the more content in the universe. For example, hydrogen ranks first, and its content accounts for the total of the elements in the universe. 70%,
However, among the many top-ranked elements, three elements are named, and their content in the universe is very rare. These three elements are the third-ranked lithium, the fourth-ranked beryllium and the fifth-ranked boron. In theory, these three elements are light elements, only heavier than hydrogen and helium, otherwise they would not become elements 3, 4, and 5.
On the periodic table, the lower the ranking, the heavier the element, the less the content in nature, and the higher the content in the front, the more common elements in the universe. But why these three elements have become exceptions, so rare? To unravel this mystery, we also need to analyze from the Big Bang to the formation of elements.
We all know that the universe originated from the Big Bang of a space-time singularity 13.8 billion years ago. This space-time singularity is equivalent to a super-compressed point that gathers huge energy. When the singularity big bang occurred, huge energy was released instantly. According to Einstein’s mass-energy equation, we know that matter and energy are actually the same thing, but two manifestations of mass.
When the temperature reaches extremely high, mass will exist in the form of energy. The temperature inside the space-time singularity is naturally extremely high, and the matter in it can only exist in the form of energy. After the big bang, the energy exploded in a short period of time, and at the same time the universe skyrocketed.
In the process of the explosion of the universe, the temperature also dropped, and energy began to be transformed into various particles of the early universe. Quarks, leptons, photons, gluons, and antimatter particles were the earliest particles in the early universe. They synthesized the first nuclei. The photon is too high in energy to synthesize the simplest nucleus, and can only be trapped in it and cannot come out.
Although this process is only a short ten minutes, it has laid the material foundation of the universe, forming 75% hydrogen, less than 2% helium-4, about 0.01% deuterium and helium-3, and about 0.0000001%. lithium. You read that right, a very small amount of lithium has been born in the early universe. Don’t underestimate such a little lithium. It is a very good thing for us.
Without this element of lithium, human life forms may not be what they are now, and lithium is also very important for the development of human science and technology, and it needs to be applied in many fields. As the universe continues to expand and the temperature continues to cool, after 300,000 years, photons are finally released through the blockade.
The emergence of photons is too important for the evolution of the universe, and early stars also began to be born at this time. As we said above, the early universe only formed the most basic elements, of which hydrogen accounted for 75%. Then how did the more than 90 elements that came out of the universe come from? Here we have to provide another hero, that is, stars.
The key to element transformation is temperature. Only at extremely high temperatures can hydrogen be fused into helium and helium can continue to be fused into other heavy elements. After the formation of the universe, there was no such high temperature environment until the emergence of stars.
The inside of a star is equivalent to a huge nuclear fusion reactor, and its core temperature is very high, ranging from millions of degrees to hundreds of millions of degrees. In such a high temperature environment, hydrogen element is easily converted into helium by a fusion reaction. When the star fuels the hydrogen element, the hydrogen nuclear fusion will slow down and stop. At this time, the gravitational collapse causes the core area to shrink continuously, and the internal temperature will further increase significantly.
After the fusion of hydrogen and helium inside the star ceases, a new fusion mode will start, and the helium element will continue to fuse into heavier elements. The types of elements that stars of different masses can eventually fusion and synthesize are also different. Stars like the sun can only be synthesized to element 6 carbon in the end. Then the helium fusion is completely over, the outer layer breaks away, and the core collapses into a white dwarf.
But for massive stars, the fusion reaction will continue to be more intense, the core will further collapse and heat up, start carbon nuclear fusion, fuse carbon into oxygen, oxygen fuse into neon, neon fuse into magnesium, and so on. After synthesis, elements such as silicon, sulfur, argon, calcium, titanium, and chromium will be produced one after another, until iron, nickel and cobalt.
However, such a nuclear fusion reaction is not enough to synthesize all 94 elements. When the massive star reaches the end, a violent supernovae explosion will occur. In this process, more important elements will continue to be synthesized. The white dwarfs formed by stellar evolution will also produce heavier elements when neutron stars collide and merge.
From this we can see that the appearance of the 94 natural elements in the universe is basically related to stars. Through the birth of these elements, we will find that lithium, beryllium and boron do not appear. Hydrogen fusion produces helium, helium fusion produces carbon, carbon fusion produces oxygen, but where did lithium, beryllium and boron go?
Scientists have discovered through research that the fusion process of stars cannot synthesize these three elements. If hydrogen and helium are combined, lithium-5 will be obtained, but it is extremely unstable and will quickly decay. The same is true for the other two elements, even if they are barely synthesized, they are extremely unstable and will soon decay. So the birth of these three elements cannot be achieved by the fusion of stars, so how did they appear?
Scientists currently speculate that these three elements may be related to the source of the most advanced particles in the universe, and the main sources of high-energy particles in the universe are pulsars, supermassive black holes, supernovae, thousands of planets and active galaxies. I believe everyone knows that pulsars are actually a kind of neutron stars, but pulsars are special neutron stars that can produce adjusted rotations, and their speeds can even approach the speed of light.
These high-energy particle sources can accelerate the particles, and the cosmic particles are ejected from all directions in the universe. The particles may collide with other particles during the accelerated motion, so that there is a certain probability to produce lithium, beryllium and boron. Because their production depends on the collision of such high-energy particles in the universe, they are very rare, and they are indispensable elements for life on earth.
For humans, we need these three elements too much, but their content in the universe is too low, what should we do? May only rely on our constantly powerful technology. As long as our scientific and technological strength is further improved, there may be ways to artificially synthesize these three elements. At that time, they will no longer be rare elements. Such rare elements have also appeared on the earth, and it can also be seen how extraordinary a planet the earth is.