Phases of everything

As the charts above show, phase transitions are the result of changes in pressure and temperature, and what they actually are is a re-ordering of the internal structure of the molecule/element in question. What we know as "solids" are densely packed, ordered collections of atoms; liquids less so, and gases the least. This is the explanation of what you see with your own eyes - the changing internal structure.

As the temperature/pressure goes up, matter starts to break up, and if given enough heat/pressure, it will in fact cease to be matter, converting (or phasing) into pure energy (E=MC2).  And here comes my big point: Everything you see, know, are, is the result of a phase change that occurred early in the creation of our Universe. Lookee here:

Click for big. What this diagram is in fact showing is the phase transition of pure energy into matter - a distillation, if you will. From the starting point of inconceivable temperatures/pressures, everything since has been getting cooler and less dense - expanding. And from this cooling, matter formed, like ice emerging from water. We're the ice. And not just matter, but the fundamental forces of our existence - electromagnetism, for example.

There's many cool things to point out here. For example, for every particle of matter created, there was a particle of anti-matter. These particles were created, collided, and destroyed each other. Over and over and over again. Somehow (no one quite knows) though, as this matter/antimatter collisions occurred, there was a small remainder of matter. All matter in the universe today is that remainder. So, consider - the slight imperfection of the matter/antimatter conversion resulted in a small amount of matter left over, and that's our entire reality.

Look above up to the 300K year mark. The universe up to this point was hot, busy fog - light could not escape anywhere, due to the enormous amounts of particles everywhere. Atoms could not form for the same reason: everything was too hot and bothered. But with further cooling, further expansion, atoms finally formed, and when they did, almost instantly across all of creation, the fog lifted, and the Universe was transparent, but filled with vast clouds of gas.

And almost entirely dark, for there were no sources of light other than the photons randomly cast off by the "getting rarer all the time" collisions of particles. This period is called the Dark Ages and we cannot see past it through our telescopes. But then something truly magical happened: the first star was born. Here:
I think this is incredibly beautiful when pondered: the first star. There really was a first, and quickly followed by many, many others in a chain reaction of creation - the so called "reionization era". These first stars were huge, and burned very hot, and died quickly. In these first supernovae, the first black holes were created. These black holes in turn helped create more stars, and more importantly, served as the rotational centers of the first galaxies. By the end of this process, the Universe looks the way it does today, filled with bright stars, swirling galaxies, and panoramic nebula. And lots of dust.

So, the next time you're stuck in traffic, or in the office, step back from the moment and consider that you, everything around you, all that you could ever know or be is the re-working (many, many times over) of the initial energy from the Big Bang. In fact, we ARE the Big Bang; everything is an expression of this moment of creation, a phase change from the moment of conception to the "freezing out" of matter, which then in turn formed stars and everything else. Including you (we ARE star dust, literally).

Awe inspiring, eh?


Crusty Dem said...

Don't forget mitosis and meiosis..

Redshirt said...

Do you consider mitosis a "phase change"? If so, how? It strikes me more as a type of "mutation", crudely speaking.