So, I Do Say, World Is Anthropocentric!

So, I Do Say, World Is Anthropocentric!

Would I be here, if the Sun were a little bigger?
No! Says the Science, as the Sun would have eaten himself by now! 1

Would I be here, if the Sun were slightly smaller?
Science rebuts! As a pale disc in the sky, he could not be my life prop!1

Would I be here, if the Sun were a little farther?
No! No! Cries the Science, as he would be a bit too far to nurture me!2

Would I be here, if the Sun were positioned somewhat closer?
Certainly not! States the Science, and I could not live in a Boiler! 2

Would I be here, if the Earth were a little bigger?
No! Says the Science, as the Earth would have smothered me in a flash!3

Would I be here, if the Earth were slightly smaller?
Science rebuts! As then all the air around me would have taken a walk! 3

Would I be here, if the Moon were positioned halfway down?
Yes! Says the Science, if only, I could morph as a frog! 4

Would I be here, if all the protons were a tad lighter as of now?
No! Shouts the Science, as Sun would be a Red Giant guzzling the Earth by now! 5

Would I be here, if the forces binding the atomic nuclei were weaker?
No! Says the Science, as there would not have been any sunshine and heat! 6

Would I be here, if the forces binding the atomic nuclei were stronger?No! Says the Science, as there would have been only the explosions galore! 7

But the Sun, and the Earth are made to order in size and distance!
The Moon is there sufficiently away and I am safe from his pranks!

The basic forces are just right and precise to suit my well-being!
So, I do say, the world is built for me, it is anthropocentric!

But the truth of the matter is that I am not distinct even from a microbe!From the ultra diminutive Diplococcus to the dinosaur Diplodocus,

All of us are a result of the same Universal Life Principle sans any bias!And again, the basic genetic material is the same for all that is alive!

I am like a drunken guest arrives late to a nice party, hogs all the food, Creates mayhem, throws out other guests, razes properties as I own all!

Being an egocentric, I forget my being is due to a chain of evolutionary accidents!

And aver this Earth is My habitat destined to suit my wants and joys!

In seething volcanic vents, fathoms down the oceans, in caves, deserts, Hot springs, below zero, acid or alkali environs, Life endures all over!

I know not, how versatile and innovative is life: hot-spring-dwelling, Methane breathing or alien universe / dimension, of life I know nothing!

But to me, an egomaniac, only life or habitat worthy is mine,All others are there to satisfy my need, and expendable after their service!

But, I am just a day old in a world of beings years older! ,
When I muse, the truth hits me: I am here because of them and not vice versa!

Note: Those, who are curious about the science behind some of the above statements, may look at the explanations and the reference furnished below.

1 When the radius of a star increases by a factor of 2, its mass increases cubically that is by a factor of eight. If the sun is heavier by 5 times, its life would be reduced by a factor of 20. It means, the sun would have been dead billions of years ago. A sun 10 times lighter would be ten thousand times too faint. It means Earth would receive very little energy to sustain life forms.Therefore we need stars in a narrow mass range close to that of our sun.

2
The distance between the life- bearing planet and the parent sun is important. Temperatures must lie in a pretty narrow range (especially for the advanced forms of life). In the case of sun, this distance cannot vary by more than 20% this way or that way.

3
Planets must be of right size so that its surface gravity retains its atmosphere. Moon lost its atmosphere due to its small size. Planets should not be too large like Jupiter because the atmosphere is too extensive and exerts a crushing pressure.

4
If the moon were to be only half of its present distance from the earth, the tides on earth would be at least 8 times stronger which means that the continental land masses would have been submerged twice daily and all life on earth would have been mostly amphibious.

5
The proton is the most fundamental constituent of all nuclei and constitutes most of the mass in the universe. It has a mass 1837 times that of the electron and this ratio is constant everywhere in the universe. Suppose the proton happened to be ten percent lighter, then it turns out that the Sun would be twenty percent heavier and as the luminosity of stars is a factor of the fourth or fifth power of their mass (Eddington’s mass-luminosity law), it would be much hotter with a considerably reduced lifetime (that is, the sun would have been now in the super-hot red giant stage burning up everything).

6
We know that the strong or nuclear forces bind the atomic nuclei and release nuclear energy. The Sun (on whose warmth and light, the life is sustained) generates its vast outpourings of energy by converting hydrogen into helium through a series of thermonuclear reactions in its hot interior at a temperature in excess of millions of degrees. Hydrogen is first converted into a heavier isotope, heavy hydrogen with a nucleus consisting of a proton and a neutron. It is a stable nucleus. Now calculation shows that a decrease in the coupling constant of this strong interaction by even 5 % is enough for the binding energy between the neutron and the proton to vanish and consequently make it impossible to exist in nature as a stable nucleus. Thus a small decrease in the nuclear interaction strength would prevent the basic nuclear reaction which is the starting point for the production of all other heavier elements! This also would disable stars (Sun included!)to sustain emitting light and heat essential for life.

7
If the nuclear interaction were even 2% stronger than what is now, it would cause two protons to form a nucleus (called diproton). Now Pauli’s exclusion principle prohibits two protons from forming a nucleus unless their spins are pointing opposite to each other, in which case, the interaction will have to be 2% Stronger for them to bind. Once the diproton is stable, the basic nuclear interaction in stars will no longer be slow and steady one which form deuterium and which sustains them for aeons but a highly explosive one.


Acknowledgement: All the above notes are extracted from this beautiful book, Introduction To Astrobiology, Co-authored by my close friend and fellow IIScian, Prof. C. Sivaram, Head of the Dept. of Theoretical Physics, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore. It was published by Universities Press (India) in 2004 and distributed by Orient Longman.Actually, this book is the inspiration behind the above poem.Note: This poem is also displayed in my Sulekha site: http://kartha-pes.sulekha.com

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