This page is for fun and education to help provide a better understanding of certain scientific basics with a special perspective on our existence and the function of life. Our existence is both simple and complex. I hope to make it easier to understand with this page which is taken from a number of lectures I used to give my high school science students. Relax and enjoy, there is no exam at the end. :-)
Every living organism and most of our cosmos is made from just two building blocks...electrons and protons. Even after over 30 years of meditating on science, I still find it mind boggling that such an incredibly complex and structured existence is made up almost entirely of electrons and protons, two tiny little particles. One with a negative charge and the other with a positive charge.
Atoms are made up entirely of electrons and protons (neutrons are electrons and protons combined.) Every atom of every element is made up of only electrons and protons. You could easily trade electrons and protons between different atoms and elements and their function would not change. When we increase the number of electrons and protons in an atom, we automatically change the structure of the atom with different electrons orbiting at different distances from the protons in the center (the nucleus.) The structure of the atom determines the characteristics and function of the atom. Therefore, function is dependent on structure.
By changing the structure of the atom, we can cause different types of bonding between atoms and molecules (molecules are two or more atoms bonded together.) The four basic types of bonding are covalent, ionic, metallic, and hydrogen bonding. Covalent, ionic, and metallic bonding provide nice secure bonds which hold atoms securely together and prevent matter from simply and easily flying apart. This permits the structure of our existence.
Metallic bonding permits the easy flow of electrons between atoms within matter and make it possible to have electricity, computers, and the internet. It also gives the metals the characteristics we use so often such as being able to draw metals into wire or beat them into sheets. Covalent bonds resist electron flow and provide us with insulators which protect us from electrical shock.
Hydrogen bonds are polar bonds between molecules which give water and other substances the properties required for life such as water being able to dissolve other polar molecules that the body needs. The molecular properties of water are crucial to all life. Life cannot exist without water.
By changing the arrangement of the atoms within a molecule, we change the structure of the molecule. Changing the structure of the molecule changes the characteristics and function of the molecule. Therefore, function is dependent on structure, again. As a matter of fact, only four elements or types of atoms make up better than 90% of humans. These are hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen. Using these four types of atoms, we can create hundreds of different molecules that function differently and are used for different purposes in the body by simply changing the number and relative arrangement of the atoms.
Yet, all of this is done with nothing but electrons and protons.
Every living organism consists of nothing but atoms and molecules. Life depends on the functions of molecules. I taught my students that we humans are nothing but giant, walking, leathery test tubes full of molecules. The molecules are very structured and organized. The structure of the molecules determines the function of the cells. Therefore, function is dependent on structure, again.
It is important to understand that, at this point, nothing we have discussed is alive. Electrons, protons, atoms, and molecules are all what we call inanimate matter or without life. Now it gets fun and very interesting.
These dead molecules and how they function are what cause the different motions required to have life. You see, we cannot have life without motion. Molecules must move to have life.
Pay close attention, because, the secret to life is this. Molecules are not all in the straight lines shown in your biology books. Some are straight, curved, hairpin shaped, looped, twisted, and many other shapes based on and caused by the relative positions of the different atoms in the molecules and how they function. When two molecules get together, they chemically react with each other based on the function and position of the atoms in the molecules and the molecules CHANGE SHAPE. This changing of shape causes the molecules to move and it is this movement of the molecules in relation to their structure in the cell that causes the movement within cells necessary for life. This is where life begins and how it happens. Life is the movement of dead things called molecules within cells in relation to the molecular structure of the cell. That is really all there is to life. Therefore, function is dependent on structure, again.
Since all living things are made up of nothing but molecules, then they are also made up of nothing but atoms. Since atoms are nothing but electrons and protons, then every living thing is made of nothing but electrons and protons. We humans are nothing more than big, walking clouds of electrons and protons (clouds because atoms are at least 90% empty space.) Two very tiny little particles.
Everything on this planet and almost everything in our cosmos is made of nothing but electrons and protons. We exist and function because of the structure of our electrons and protons. So simple and yet so incredibly complex. And, amazingly, all of this is done with nothing but electrons and protons. Two tiny little particles. One negative and one positive. How brilliant!
Do you really know what God meant when He said that He made Adam from the clay of the Earth? We tend to think that God meant that He literally made Adam from clay which he took from the Earth. What God really meant is that He made Adam from the same clay from which He made the Earth. And that clay is? Atoms, electrons and protons. The planet and everything on it is made from atoms, the clay of the Earth. Man is also made of nothing but atoms, electrons and protons. The clay of the Earth.