Weird Science: The true story of pocket change

Pocket change is an example of a secret history hidden within an everyday object.

In order for a penny to exist, the copper must journey through the galaxy for billions of years. Pocket change is an example of a secret history hidden within an everyday object. The journey begins more than 4 billion years ago, before the sun and earth existed.

Almost all objects and materials around you once were in the massive inferno of stars. Elements like carbon and oxygen are formed when intense pressure fuses atoms together. The oxygen in your lungs right now was forged in the center of stars that exploded long before the sun existed.

All stars eventually burn out. The largest are unimaginably powerful time bombs, they explode at the end of their life, and hurdle atoms into space. A supernova can release so much energy; a single exploding star can outshine billions within a galaxy for weeks.

Some expelled atoms settle around a new star which then must explode causing a ripple in space itself, and pressures intense enough to fuse heavier elements like those found in pocket change.
The remnants of dead stars float through space, potentially for billions of years, until gravity pulls dust together, forming the solar system in which we live. Eventually, life emerged on the third planet from the sun, and evolved long enough to name itself. Humans learned to manipulate the environment, and purify elements to form objects such as pennies and gold jewelry.

Not one star, but thousands must explode over billions of years and contribute some of their material to form earth. The atoms in your body are close to each other now, but they were once spread throughout the galaxy, light years apart in the vacuum of space and within the cores of stars.

Scientist Jill Tarter once said, “We, all of us, are what happens when a primordial mixture of hydrogen and helium evolves for so long, it begins to ask where it came from.” So the next time you see a copper penny, or a piece of gold jewelry, you will know of its secret history in ancient stars.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

City Council to vote on bill banning anonymous…

One of the two bills would make it so any type of communication paid for or okayed by a campaign disclose that they are involved in any way.

National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Movies

Interview: Robert Rodriguez doesn't mind that Jessica Alba…

In making a Hollywood-friendly adaptation of Frank Miller's gritty "Sin City" graphic novel series, Robert Rodriguez learned that some things have to go — namely…

Movies

Interview: Jessica Alba is a stripper again in…

Jessica Alba has gotten used to vague phone calls from director Robert Rodriguez, the Austin-based auteur who has made a habit of putting Alba into…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Aug. 20: 'Extant,' 'Legends'…

See a two hour block of Halle Berry's scifi show, "Extant."

The Word

The Word: Mischa Barton in trouble, not that…

  People are really, really worried about Mischa Barton. Again. The former "O.C." star is reportedly in deep financial trouble and can't seem to get…

NFL

Jace Amaro continues to deal with issue dropping…

Jets second-round pick Jace Amaro has been plagued by drops since minicamp in June.

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

Parenting

Fun family activity: Off-Broadway show for pre-teens

"The Love Note" is an off-Broadway musical your pre-teen won't roll his or her eyes at.

Parenting

Barnes & Noble partners with Samsung to release…

Barnes & Noble releases the first full android tablet optimized for reading.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Food

The Chic Wife tells us how to use…

Kris Schoels, aka The Chic Wife, grew up on a farm with peach trees. August is National Peach Month, but Kris Schoels doesn’t need a reason…