Poets and astronomers have both claimed that we’re made of the same stuff as the stars. But a new study, says MIT alum Dennis Overbye ’66, may indicate that we’re not star dust–we’re star dung.
Recent research from the Harvard-Smithson Center for Astrophysics postulates that all the gold the universe may come from the collision of neutron stars. (MIT alum and current Harvard PhD student Wen-fai Fong ’08 is a co-author on the paper.)
This means that gold may glitter, but it’s also a … leftover. “Of course we aspiring gardeners have other names for what is left behind after an object’s energy has been metabolized into light and heat to nurture the cosmos,” Overbye writes.
Read Overbye’s essay, “Stars, Gold, Dung Beetles and Us” at the New York Times.
Overbye is the deputy science editor for the New York Times. Or, as he calls himself on his Twitter feed, he’s the “Cosmic Affairs Correspondent.” He has also written two books: Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos and Einstein in Love.