Field of Science

Heavy Me

An interesting NYT article about early black holes that may have been detected by their radio signature has this to say:
Dust grows over time as stars manufacture heavy elements called metals, like carbon, silicon and oxygen, that make up dust and then spit them out into space.
If carbon and oxygen are heavy metals, then I am heavy indeed.


  1. According to the author of the story, astronomers consider anything heavier than helium to be a metal.

    Silly astronomers.

  2. It's like we used to joke in quantum class - "The hydrogen molecule would be perfect if we could just remove an atom."

    Astrochemistry itself is really neat, though.

    - MJ (who is now at

  3. Astronomers are silly. Physicists are sillier. I remember someone saying, with no disrespect intended, that physics ends with hydrogen while chemistry begins with hydrogens, something of the kind that MJ is saying, who by the way is congratulated for his entry into the blogworld. I hope that that is where we are going to get our future fodder on NMR, thermodynamics etc. MJ, you have been marked!

  4. I have a passing interest in astrochemistry, I actually wrote a short paper/proposal on the topic in grad school since I needed some time away from thinking about nuclear spin magnetic moments. But there's a certain beauty and elegance to the questions in the field - you've got surfaces, you've got interfaces, you've got hydrogenation reactions occurring on/in icy dust grains, it's all kinds of neat.

    I may have to do a post about the above one of these days, thinking about it.

    - MJ


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