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By Brian Clegg

Attention-grabbing proof and mind-boggling technological know-how of the human physique. equipped from the particles of exploding stars that floated via house for billions of years, domestic to a zoo of tiny extraterrestrial beings, and regulated through a mind with extra attainable connections than there are atoms within the universe, the human physique is the main excellent factor in lifestyles. within the sequel to his bestselling Inflight technology, Brian Clegg explores mitochondria, in-cell powerhouses that are proposal to have as soon as been separate creatures; how your eyes are quantum traps, eating photons of sunshine from the evening sky that experience travelled for hundreds of thousands of years; your many senses, which come with the power to realize warps in area and time, and why assembly an enticing individual can flip you right into a gibbering fool.

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Additional info for The Universe Inside You: The Extreme Science of the Human Body From Quantum Theory to the Mysteries of the Brain

Sample text

And the visible universe is about 90 billion light years across. We say ‘the visible universe’ because no one is sure how big the universe is. 7 billion years ago. 7 billion years (slightly less, actually, but let’s not worry about that). If everything stayed the same, that would make the visible universe about 27 billion light years across – but the universe has been expanding since it began. 7 billion years ago is now around 45 billion light years distant. The universe is so big that if you distributed all the atoms in it evenly throughout space, there would only 41 THE UNIVERSE INSIDE YOU be one oxygen atom in about every 6,250 cubic metres.

If that were the case there would be no liquid water on Earth, and so no life. But thanks to this special property the water molecule shares with a few others, it boils at the familiar 100 degrees Celsius. The property in question is hydrogen bonding, an attraction between the electrical charge on a hydrogen atom and that on another atom like oxygen, nitrogen or fluorine. In the case of water, the hydrogen’s relative positive charge is attracted to the slight negative charge on the oxygen in another water molecule.

9 per cent of the mass of the atom. For each proton an electron flew around the outside, balancing up the electrical charge, leaving the atom neutral. But even this newly detailed picture wasn’t quite good enough. In 1932 another particle was found in the nucleus – the neutron. This had a similar mass to the proton but no charge, and it helped explain a mystery. There exist different versions of the same element, called isotopes. They act in the same way chemically, but the atoms have different weights.

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