Last week I was on holiday with Mrs Geek in London. While I was there, I spent an afternoon at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, which is set on top of a hill in East London. It was commissioned in 1675 making it one of the oldest astronomical observatories in the world. Sadly, it can no longer function as an observatory. There is far too much light pollution caused by street lights, road traffic, housing, offices etc. So it now a museum. Perhaps its greatest claim to fame is that within its grounds is a steel strip, which shows the line of 0 degrees longitude marking the boundary between the East and West hemispheres of the Earth.
The meridian at Greenwich, which divides the world into East and West hemispheres
However, the thing that really stuck in my mind was a display which contained a quote from the British physicist and popular science writer John Gribbin (1946-).
Of all the elements only hydrogen and helium were created in the Big Bang. All the other naturally occurring elements (e.g. carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, magnesium, iron, zinc) were created by nuclear reactions inside stars. I will say more about this in my next post, which will outline the history of the Universe from the Big Bang until the present day. A mere 13.8 billion years 🙂
The Science Geek