SUMMARY: The nucleosynthesis of the chemical elements which make up the matter
of the universe in the stars is interpreted as an antientropic process,
made at the cost of the strong increase of cosmic entropy produced by
Wayfarer, your footsteps are
the way, and nothing more;
wayfarer there is no way,
the way is made with movement.
With movement one makes the way
and turning one's
one sees is the path to which
one will never return, to tread.
Wayfarer, there is no way,
but wakes in the sea"
about the origins of life, of man, of the earth and the universe existed
in ancient cultures and sometimes they were so persistent as to become
the end of the sparring match between evolutionists and creativists [5,6],
lay and religious culture in the West today appears to be inclined towards
accepting the rational scheme of the theory of evolution, while the so
called “state of life” or what we intend by life, continues to resist
the various attempts of physical or philosophical definition.
Living creatures are generated only and always from other living
They have a defined and constant form;
They are made up of fundamental units (cells), affine for structure and
They possess the property of building and maintaining themselves at the
expense of the chemical substances and energy, which they obtain from the
They maintain continuous relationship with the external world and are able
to react to determined stimuli;
Each species safeguards its genetic information;
They are not perennial, given that each individual is destined to
disappear at the end of a predetermined life cycle (biological clock);
They tend to the maximum possible spread ;
They are thermo-sensitive and life is only possible in a very restricted
range of temperatures.
safeguarding of genetic information (point 6) allows conservation of the
information despite a general increase of chaos (entropy), thanks to a
complex digital system, like that of the chromosomes. This, unlike that of
our electronic technologies, based on two alternatives 1 and 0, adopts
four: A,G,C,T (Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine and Thymine), which represent
the letters of a living digital language. This language has demonstrated a
surprising capacity for conserving the hereditary characteristics of the
single species with accuracy and of defending them from the most varied
before prehistory, an irresistible push to overcome every frontier
characterised all forms of life. The migration of animal species, with the
scope of exploring and conquering territory, expresses the tendency of
planetary expansion of living matter. It is clear that such a form of globalisation does not represent a purely
human and terrestrial phenomenon, but rather a universal biological law.
Evidence comes from the arrival of forms of primordial life on earth,
transported on the backs of meteorites and comets from the depths of the
All the efforts of all ages,
all the dedication,the
inspiration, the bright greatness of human genious,
are destined to end in the vast
death of the solar system, and the temple of
human conquests will be inexorably buried
under the detritus of a universe in ruins..."
by the thousand dangers of a
hostile environment, man has always looked for protection and security, to
the point of designing a model of the universe made in his own measures.
DUST AND CINDERS OF THE STARS
Our destiny in indissolvably
that of the stars "
by an inexhaustible curiosity, prehistoric man studied the nature around
him and, with wonder, observed the connections between various phenomena.
initial explosion interested space and time simultaneously , signalling
the start of all of physical reality. Through a progressive process of
expansion and cooling, the initial temperature of several millions of
degrees fell to 2.7°K of today. In the first instants elementary
particles like quarks formed from the radiation together with free
electrons which blocked the passage of photons: for this reason the
universe was not transparent and would have seemed totally dark to a
hypothetical external observer. A little after, that is at the end of the
first three minutes, the temperature had fallen to less than 3000°K
allowing the formation of hydrogen atoms, by combination of protons and
electrons, passing thus from the era of pure energy to that of matter. On
the basis of various experimental data, today it is believed that in all
the stars there is an uninterrupted process of nuclear fusion with the
conversion of hydrogen into helium and the emission of radiating energy.
2% of matter has furnished the elements and the molecules necessary for
the assembly of the bricks of life up until the first monoorganisms and
pluricellular organisms , while the sun has provided the energy to
feed this cascade of reactions, which needs an addition of external energy
to be able to evolve . The energy necessary to form and break a
chemical bond is modest, amounting to only 1 electronvolt (eV) per atom or
electron . The photons which reach us from the sun possess
energy of precisely this order of magnitude, and thus they are able
to set off and terminate all the chemical reactions appropriate for the
assembly of life, like for example photosynthesis . The number of
photons present in the universe (from 100 million to 20 billion for every
nuclear particle) is able to produce whatsoever chemical reaction. The
organisation of inanimate matter into living matter is a complex process,
which proceeds through a series of chain reactions, passing to simple
composites to complex composites (cfr. Eigen's theory of hypercycles). To
realise a reaction with the formation or splitting of a chemical bond it
is necessary to satisfy some essential conditions like affinity,
concentration and temperature. This means that two composites react with
each other if they have an adequate reciprocal affinity and if the
temperature (energy activation) and
concentrations (kinetics) are sufficient to guarantee the trigger and
maintain the reaction .
the last analysis it is this possibility of easy recycling that conditions
the existence of terrestrial life.
THE COSMOS, DARK CASKET OF LIFE
“A universe populated by an
of suns, around which rotate many planets,
creatures, with an intellect no
different from that of mankind. Such a countless
vastness of the cosmos will end up cancelling not
only the centrality of the earth, but also that
of man "
Giordano Bruno, 1548-1600
is not empty as was once thought, but contains matter, distributed among
stars, planets nebulas and galaxies.
Formation of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen by stellar
Subsequent stellar synthesis, of aromatic hydrocarbons formed of carbon
and hydrogen (among which PAH), of water formed by hydrogen and oxygen (H2O)
and of ammonia formed by nitrogen and hydrogen (NH3).
Expulsion of these substances into cosmic space.
Photo splitting of the PAH into smaller fragments in the
Transferral onto the earth of these simple organic molecules and their
more complex derivatives by comets and meteorites.
Synthesis on earth of biomonomers and polymers from organic molecules of
Evolutive assembly of these chemical structures into living material.
this stimulating hypothesis, we express below some critical
The temperature of the interstellar grains varies according to their
ubication. Those near to active stars reach temperatures of thousands of
degrees, those far away temperatures near absolute zero. Temperature
represents a critical parameter in most chemical reactions. On the surface
of the hottest grains reactions of the gaseous phase could be favoured, in
the colder ones reactions in the solid phase.
For the reactions of photosplitting and photosynthesis the exposure to
sources of radiating energy is fundamental. Also in this case there are in
nebulous zones more or less exposed and therefore zones adapt and not
adapt for photo-chemical reactions.
The concentrations of the reagents in the grains are so low that the
probability of simultaneously and efficient meeting between two three or
more molecules are irrelevant. For this reason it is difficult to
understand how monomers and polymers, most of which contain the four key
elements; carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen can form in these
These problems of a kinetic nature throw a veil of uncertainty over the
hypothesis that the PAH are key products necessary for the synthesis of
the so called building bricks of life and from which the other organic
It seems possible that part of the simple organic molecules like cyanidric
acid, acetylene, ethylene etc, derive from the stellar synthesis as well
as from photosplitting and combination of the PAH in interstellar grains.
,Carbon is formed from hydrogen in carbonaceous stars. In nature this
element is found in four forms called allotropic: soot, graphite, diamond
and fullerenes. If other reactions do not occur later the carbon is then
erupted in the same state into the interstellar space, where, in fact, it
has been identified. Considering the great quantity of hydrogen present
and the high temperature, part of the carbon reacts with the hydrogen
giving rise to the simple highly reactive non-saturated hydrocarbons
(methynic and methylenic radicals, acetylene, ethylene etc). These
composites tend to stabilise reacting with themselves (dimerisation and
polymerisation) or with other affine molecules, initiating the birth of an
immense number of simple and complex organic molecules. According to this
scheme, all the organic composites present in the space and on earth, may
be considered substantially derived from methinic /methylenic radicals and
above mentioned, the PAH are binary carbon and hydrogen based
composites concatenated in hexagonal rings and may be considered polymers,
formed in the giant stars from acetylene and its derivatives. On earth
they are found in tars from the distillation of carbon and petroleum,
accompanied by analogous cyclics also containing one or more atoms of
oxygen, nitrogen or sulphur. The PAH are systems with complex structures,
and their chemical and biological properties, like stability, reactivity
and toxicity, vary greatly from compound to compound. It is enough to
think that benzopyrene, sadly known for its carcinogenicity (cigarette
smoke!) is in this class. The PAHs are spread in the interstellar
space, but are easily synthesised in the laboratory by the combustion of
acetylene . This latter, present in space, can be prepared in the
laboratory from hydrogen and carbon at high temperatures. It is a very
reactive compound, formed from only two atoms of carbon and hydrogen (C2H2),
which tends to react with itself in a process called polymerisation,
giving rise to more stable structures, among which it is worth naming Acetylene
Black, an organic pigment and excellent electrical conductor.
by scientific and technological progress, our cosmological vision has
modified and more and more often we advance the hypothesis of an
extraterrestrial birth of life. Today we know that there is matter in
space and that many of the molecules identified are also found on
earth. The non stellar nebulas are huge black dumps of cosmic garbage,
enormous accumulations of ashes, from which new stars and planets are born
and will be born: life, and ourselves, are in fact the ashes and dust of
grains in which the interstellar dust is aggregated show some interesting
Optical: diffraction and absorption of electromagnetic and corpuscular
Electrical: charge transfer and photoelectric effect;
Chemical: catalysts of photo chemical reactions, disassociation and
grains behave like small space laboratories where delicate reactions
occur: complex materials like PAH and PHB are split into
fragments and these recombined into oxygenated and nitrogenated molecules.
Thus varied key organic compounds like alcohols, aldehydes, carboxylic
acids, amines, nitryls, aminoacids, phenols and other important functional
derivatives of carbon may form.
chemistry of space occurs in the grains, at temperatures near to absolute
zero or locally higher according to the position, in solid systems under
the action of radiation in the presence of water and ammonia ice. In these
conditions the bonds must be split and reformed with precision, lacking
almost totally the thermic oscillations of the base . In the hottest
zones reactions in the gaseous or absorbed phase prevail, nearer to
conditions on earth. Thus equilibrium reactions with the formation of
polyfunctional molecules (amminoacids, etc) could also be set off .
THE CURTAIN RISES
Science cannot explain the
mystery of nature.
And this is because, in the final analysis,
we ourselves are part of the mystery which
we are trying to explain "
to spectroscopic analysis the interstellar grains are composed of a
nucleus of silicon covered by a mantle of water and ammonia ice.
five hundred million years, the earth has been bombarded innumerable times
by small planets, asteroids, comets and other residue of the solar nebula.
The traces of these apocalyptic collisions are still obvious in the small
and large craters discovered in various regions . Apart from the
material damage caused by this spatial "rain" it is more than
credible that with them organic molecules stored in the grains of the
interstellar clouds came to our planet. Thus a mixture of reagents ready
for further combinations came to be created on the terrestrial crust in
the marine and lake waters. On the earth in the prebiotic era chemical
reactions already sketched in space continued and others adequate for the
new environmental conditions developed. The temperature passed from almost
absolute zero to the mild terrestrial temperatures. The molecules no
longer frozen into grains became mobile and superactive, with a great
possibility of remixing in waters agitated by intense tides. The kinetic
possibility of encounters and collisions and reactions greatly increased.
The reaction means, now liquid and weakly acidic, favoured the dissolution
of basic substances (amines) and the reactions of addition and
condensation (e.g. aldehyde + nitryl -> aminoacid) while the reducing
environment safeguarded sensitive products (aldehydes, alcohols phenols
etc) from oxidation. The water screened the UV rays participating in the
reactions of hydrolysis and hydration. New possibilities of assembly into
complex structures were created at the solid/liquid and solid/gas
interfaces between dissolved and gasseous reagents with inorganic matrixes
(clay, pyrite) and organic matrixes(melanin).
LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE
The world of the physical
sciences and the
world of the life sciences are still separated
today by an unexplored no-man's-land "
Mario Ageno 
the most recent conquests of biology life remains the great mystery of the
universe. In the general economy of science its origins and its function
are still the object of more or less bold hypotheses on the border of
science and religion.
first components of matter are characterised by particles and their
respective antiparticles, which interact according to quantistic rules,
respecting some rigorous principles of conservation and of symmetry.
small banal examples tell us that we live in a world in which the loss of
information (increase of entropy) is completely natural but in which,
though, with every increase of information (reduction of disorder) there
must necessarily correspond an ordinating cause, information in some way
imported from elsewhere. A world where chaos does not make news, but where
order and organisation generate wonder, the sense of time being turned
constantly in the direction of an inexorable deterioration of the messages
with the consequent increase of confusion (background noise).
our world every form of life has adopted digital information in the form
of the double helix, the same digital technique which we have rediscovered
to defend our electronic communications from disturbances which compromise
intelligibility. Life manages to reduce its own entropy consuming chemical
energy, like our information which feeds on electrical energy. But while a
diskette can conserve a message for an indefinite time, the genetic
patrimony of a living being is constrained to live in an organism which is
able to procure it the necessary energy for conserving and improving the
information of which it is a carrier, besides safeguarding the project of
self-assembly. It is thus that life has invented death with the annexed
instinct of reproduction.
appears therefore, in the
light of modern science like extraordinary information but also a dramatic
challenge against the own planetary environment, which tends to alter the
contents. The reflection of Bergson which is quoted seems all the more
prophetic and the different theories outlined here each express an aspect
of the same truth, searching to identify the cause.
ENTROPY AND IRREVERSIBILITY
The more I examine it in
the more I am convinced
that in some way
the universe must have known
we were coming "
the other forms of energy, heat, once passed from a hot body to a colder
one, would never manage to make the inverse passage spontaneously.
Research into the causes of such irreversibility has constituted a great
problem for scientists of all times. R. Clausius in 1865 made it the
object of a general law (the second law of thermodynamics) for which there
were excogitated two possible interpretations: the dynamic
which explains it in purely mechanical factors, as for example an
imperfect elasticity in the colliding molecules, which would then lose a
part of their kinetic energy in each collision. This theory was abandoned
by Bolzman himself, who declared himself in favour of a purely probabilistic
interpretation of the thermodynamic phenomenon: because of the high number
of molecules involved the
probability that the heat passes from a cold body to a hotter one would be
statistically impossible, like expecting that a billion playing cards
after reshuffling over and over again go back into order. The entropy of a
system, being linked to the thermodynamic probability cannot but increase
continually. In such a system the statistical laws in fact exclude the
possibility of passing spontaneously towards a less probable state and
such impossibility is expressed by stating that the entropy increases with
every irreversible transformation. Bolzmann, in the light of such an
exclusively probabilistic conviction was pushed into claiming that for the
universe as a whole it had no sense to speak about a direction of time. He
surmised that the knowledge of the time would never have allowed a
different interpretation of the irreversibility of the thermal phenomena.After
the event of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics the dynamic interpretation
of the second law can no longer be reasonably excluded: even a single
photon emitted or absorbed by a molecule of the system or the minimum but
inevitable quantistic indetermination in the energy equation of a
collision are sufficient to make the reversibility of a given phenomenon
impossible. Today we may confirm therefore that the irreversibility of a
system is not only something statistically improbable but comes from the
very nature of our universe, where time therefore presents itself in a
single well defined direction or, as one says, an "arrow".
The old analogy of Ovid between time and the passing of a river comes back
as ever to being current and today Bolzmann could not claim that time in
the universe, taken as a whole, knows no direction.
MAN IN THE UNIVERSE
O nature, o spirit of man!
are the analogies which link you! Even the smallest
atom doesn't agitate or live in matter without
having its good duplicate in the mind "
to some thinkers [39,40,41] who have recognised in the coming of man an
extraordinary event even at a cosmic level, the strong development of the
brain represents something more important than a banal adaptive
hypertrophy of a coordinating organ: we find ourselves confronted with a
higher level of living manifestation, whose distance from the vegetative
animal life would be even equal
to that which separates life itself from the inorganic world.
“Only in situations where
in entropy are obvious does time take on
a real meaning"
John. D. Barrow 
have seen how in the stars are formed, starting from hydrogen, all the
elements making up the matter in the universe, by an antientropic process,
and at the cost of a strong increase in the cosmic entropy constituted by
stellar radiation. We have then examined the formation of more or less
complex molecules in space and on the planets, up to the large molecules
which make up the building blocks of life ,in which we see a further
tendency for reducing the local entropy. This second phase is fed by the
increase in entropy of the planetary environment and the solar radiation.
In our planetary niche we continue to be spectators of the clearly
antientropic phenomenon of life, of man and of his thoughts, all
accumulated by typical characteristics of a finalised and functional
organisation, conservation and diffusion of genetic and cultural
information, consuming energy from the environment to feed phenomena
clearly different from the general laws of inert matter. And all this
still at the cost of increased planetary entropy. This chain has origins
and is continually fed by the enormous energy dispersed by the sun into
space. The set of all the stars in the universe together, thanks to their
energy, allow the occurrence on the skin of some little planet like ours
the miracle of life and of conscious thought. In this mantle of miracles
we are stunned to see processes which appear to proceed against the
current of the entire universe, processes of accumulation and enrichment
of genetic information, of explosions of civilisations and cultures, of
scientific and artistic creations and we feed the ambition that here we
can make in small a sort of scaled down creation of the world.
 Authors' address: email@example.com;
B.J.R.Nicolaus, R. A. Nicolaus, <<Lo
scrigno oscuro della vita-Riflessioni sul ruolo chimico biologico della
materia nera interstellare e sulla comparsa della vita
nell’universo>> Atti della Accademia Pontaniana, Napoli
XLVIII (1999), pp. 355-380; B.J.R.
Nicolaus, R. A. Nicolaus, M. Olivieri, <<Riflessioni
sulla materia nera interstellare>>
Rend. Acc. Sci. Fis. Mat. LXVI
(1999), pp. 113-129
S. Hawking, <<Dal
Big Bang ai buchi neri>> Rizzoli, 1992; E. Lerner,
<<Il Big Bang non c’è
mai stato>> Dedalo,1994; S. Weinberg,
<<I primi tre minuti,
l’affascinante storia dell’origine dell’universo> Mondadori,
ultimi tre minuti, congetture sul destino dell’universo>>
 According to helioseismology, the solar mass oscillates with discrete
frequencies, originating from the resonance of stationary acoustic waves
inside the sun, a phenomenon analogous to the resonance of acoustic waves
in musical instruments like the violin. This produces the “tonality”
of the "music of the sun". Study of the phenomenon allows
evaluation of the temperature inside the sun, its future and the forms of
the light elements, which make up the planets and living matter.
 T.M.Birra, <<Evolution
and the myth of creationism. A basic guide to the facts in the evolution
debate>> Stanford Univ. Press, Stanford,1990; R. Jessberger,
<<Kreationismus: Kritik des modernen Antievolutionismus>>
P. Parey, Berlin/ Hamburg, 1990;
D.B. Mc Kown, << The
mythmaker’s magic, behind the illusion of creation science>>
Prometheus, Buffalo N.Y. 1993]
 The origins of creationism go back to the beginning of the 20th
century. They were set down by American fundamentalist movements with the
purpose of opposing the evolutionist theories. They start from the
hypothesis that the creation written in the Bible is the only real
explanation of the formation of the world. In American courts various
trials aimed at prohibiting the teaching of evolution in schools
(Tennessee 1925, Arkansas 1980, Supreme Court 1987) have taken place.
Despite the negative outcome of all these trials,
moral bodies which propound antievolutionary theses (“Creation
“Institute for Creation Research” San Diego, CA)
have been founded. Similar movements, although difficult to
evaluate for their consistency, exist in Islamic countries and in
LA PICCOLA TRECCANI, XII
(1997), p. 868,
Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, Roma .
J.R. Nicolaus << Globalizzazione
una sfida biologico culturale >>
Atti della Accademia
Pontaniana, Napoli LI (2002)
in corso di stampa.
 A solution to the problem could come from the discovery of
biochemical factors able to limit the degrees of freedom of a causal
evolution process, turning it into a partially predetermined process.
It seems credible that, in a distant past, nature invented
similar "biological short-cuts", shortening the time
scale of purely casual evolution. Considering the relatively brief lapse
of time between the appearance of life and today, in effect, it is
difficult to accept the hypothesis of a purely casual process.
E. Schroedinger, <<Che
cos’è la vita>> Sansoni,
Nuova Ediz. 1988.
 P. Omodeo,
<<Alle origini delle
scienze naturali>> Rubbettino,
2001; B. J.R. Nicolaus,
<<Verso il futuro a
Atti della Accademia
Pontaniana, Napoli L (2001)
,pp.394-400; B.J.R.Nicolaus, <<
Verso il futuro a piccoli passi, l’avventura continua >> Gazzetta
Svizzera 32, nr. 12, (2001).
 EBOLA: Retrovirus responsible for a hemorrhagic fever, lethal in
more than 80% of cases. It seems to be endemic in some types of apes, from
which it passes to man, when he is in close contact or eats this meat.
Retrovirus originating in central Africa in a silent form (apes). It
became virulent after its arrival in the Americas and spread in two highly
pathogenic forms. The mechanism of passing to man and that of the increase
in pathogenicity remain obscure, giving rise to various alarming
hypotheses which have never been confirmed.
 Tuberculosis, Leprosy, Syphilis, Rabies, Anthrax, Measles,
Chicken-pox, Cholera, Plague, Mumps, Scarlet fever, Poliomyelitis,
Meningitis, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Herpes, Malaria, Schistosomiasis,
Filariosis, Trypanosomiasis, Leishmaniosis, ecc.:
evolution and eradication of infectious diseases>> Baltimore,
John Hopkins Press 1963; R.Dubos, <<The
evolution of infectious diseases in the course of history>>
(1958), pp. 445-451;
W.Mc Neill <<Uomini e parassiti, una storia ecologica>>
Il Saggiatore 1993; B.
J.R. Nicolaus, <<L’arca di Noè
: Le invenzioni della natura e della cultura>> Collana Prometheus 21
(1995), Franco Angeli 1996;
B..J.R. Nicolaus, <<Uomo animale
natura nell’evolversi dei secoli>>
Atti della Accademia Pontaniana, Napoli
XLIII (1994), pp. 55-96.
 The classical viral illnesses are now joined by those from PRIONS,
which, for what we know today, are proteins without replicable genetic
patrimony (genome): e.g. sheep SCRAPIE;
BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis) of bovines and in modified
forms in man; FSE (Feline
Spongiform Encephalitis) in cats and other felines.
B. J.R. Nicolaus, <<Malattie molecolari, la maledizione del terzo millennio” Gazzetta
Svizzera 33, nr.2 (2002),
p.10; Lettura tenuta presso
l’Accademia Pontaniana, Napoli
il 28 Giugno 2001; in stampa
come Quaderno nr. 34 (2002) dell’Accademia Pontaniana, Napoli.
 The earth orbits around the sun at a velocity of 30 km/sec; the
solar system is transported in space by rotation of our galaxy (Milky Way)
at a velocity of about 250 km/sec.
 It is estimated that 4,5 billion years ago, the earth and the moon
formed. Following this, an intense bombardment of meteorites occurred,
while the first forms of life appeared between 4.4 and 3.8 billion years
ago. It is believed that the first organisms able to carry out processes
of photosynthesis and to liberate oxygen in the atmosphere appeared around
3 billion years ago, while an atmosphere rich in oxygen, able to sustain
the first heterotrope organisms only developed later (about 2 billion
The presence of organic substances in extraterrestrial objects suggests
that the components essential for biopolymers could have been formed about
4 billion years ago, through non-biological reactions in space (J.Oroe,
<<Stage and mechanisms of prebiological organic synthesis>>
<<The origins of
prebiological systhems>>, Accad.Press N.Y. (1965),
It is an open question as to how the passage from organic compounds very
simple to functional proteins and to informative systems based on nucleic
acids (DNA), which guarantee reproduction and conservation of functions,
could have taken place. Even though without enough proof, one supposes
that the primitive catalysts of the first compounds were the clays, masses
of pyrite and perhaps the melanins (Blois op. cit.). The universality of
the genetic code in all the living organisms represents one of the most
convincing arguments in favour of the uniqueness of the origins of all
 Radiotelescopes are essentially instruments with large directional
antennas. Pointing the radiotelescope towards an appropriate interstellar
zone and integrating the signal received, it is possible to observe
whether a molecule emits at the same frequency. Chemical species like ions
and radicals are relatively stable and abundant in a rarefied environment
in non-equilibrium conditions. In this way, some molecules which are hard
to study in the laboratory but which are stable in space may be identified
from the earth.
G. Giorello, << Se il Big Bang
fosse una favola>> Corriere
della sera, 25.08.2001,
 Like all the biogenic elements, carbon ondergoes a series of cyclic
transformations and passes continually between the mineral world to that
of living creatures. All the carbon of living beings comes either directly
or indirectly from the of carbon dioxide (CO2)
of the atmosphere. The stars are formed by the gravitational collapse of
clouds of gas and cosmic dust. In the first phases of their lives, they
are heated by the gravitational energy liberated in the contraction, which
is transformed into thermal energy. At a certain point, the internal
temperature becomes high enough to set off reactions of nuclear fusion,
which feed the star until their fuel, formed by hydrogen and helium, is
used up. When the available hydrogen is burnt, the fusion of helium into
carbon starts: at the same time, but to a lesser extent, the carbon
captures helium, generating oxygen. When the helium is exhausted more
massive nuclear reactions start, which pass through various heavy metals
up to iron. At this point the chain stops given that the other reactions
The difference of composition of the planets in our solar system depends
on the temperature of the original clouds, which is higher nearer the sun
than at a distance.
 Supernovas are stars which explode and reach a luminosity similar to
that of an entire galaxy. In the Milky Way two or three supernovas are
recorded every century. The one named 1987 is famous. This inundated the
earth with a rain of neutrinos of incredible density. Another was
described by Kepler in 1604.
 The simple organic molecules tend to organise themselves into more
complex molecules (glycerines, fatty acids, amminoacids, sugars, etc.)
also called biomonomers. These tend in turn to organise themselves into
macromolecules with living functions (lipids, proteins, carbohydrates,
lignines, tannins, etc.) called
 A chemical reaction is defined as endothermic if it needs the
participation of external energy to be activated.
A chemical reaction is exothermic if it does not need external energy to
be activated and if it emits energy in the course of the reaction.
 Tearing an electron from a neutral hydrogen atom (ionization
process) requires and energy of 13.6 eV.
 The energy involved in nuclear reactions is millions of times higher
than in normal chemical reactions, being about a million eV for every
atomic nucleus (1 kg of plutonium has almost the energy of a million kilos
of t.n.t.). The chemical forces which hold the atoms in the molecules
together (covalent and ionic chemical bonds) are millions of times weaker
than the strong interactions which keep the protons and neutrons together
in the nucleus. We do not perceive the strong reactions, unlike the
electromagnetic and gravitational forces, because their range of action is
very small (10 –13 cm).
The strong reactions between different nuclei have virtually no effect in
the molecule, where the nuclei are almost a million times more distant (10-8
cm). If the electrons of atoms and molecules were sensitive to strong
reactions, we would not have either chemistry or biology, but only nuclear
 The 92 natural elements present on earth and in the cosmos are
already matter with elevated levels of complexity. Reacting among
themselves, these elements tend to reach superior levels of organisation.
Each element is not able to react with any other element, even if it were
in favourable conditions, like for example the collision between two
atoms. The formation of a new link occurs only if the chemical affinity
between the two components is such as to make the new form stable. Two
affine elements can react with each other, obeying the laws on chemical
valency, which establish how many atoms of one element can link to another
and in what spatial configurations. Thus we have affine elements which can
react with each other and other non-affine elements which produce no
reaction. Reactivity and affinity depend on the configuration of the
peripheral electrons of the elements and are predictable on a theoretical
 P. Ehrenfreund, S. B.
Charnley, <<Organic molecules in the interstellar medium, comets and meteorites: a
voyage from dark clouds to the
early earth>> Ann.
Rev. Astronomy and Astrophysics (2000),
38, pp. 427-483.
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 Three types of cloud may be distinguished: dark, translucent and
expanded. All the clouds modify in time and are enriched by new material
erupted by dying stars. The dark clouds, rich in organic molecules, are
the main source of new planets. see.
L.J. Allamandola, A.G. Thielens,
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 Bitumen is made up of mixtures of hydrocarbons (natural or coming from the pyroscission of raw petroleum or mixtures of both), of a solid or semisolid consistency and a dark colour up to black. Petroleum is made up of a fluid mixture of natural solid, liquid and gasseous hydrocarbons. Petroleum and coal come from the progressive decomposition of organic substances, mainly of a vegetable nature, through a natural procedure which takes entire geological eras.
 K. H. Homann, <<Fullerenes
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formed in the regions of the giant planets from residues of small planets.
Their composition is interesting because it is indicative of their origin
and the conditions of the protosolar clouds. The comets are objects of
less than 1 km diameter made of ice and cosmic dust (also called big dirty
snowballs). They move on heliocentric orbits at a great distance from the
sun. Nearing this they heat up and lose water and dust, which form the
tails we observe as they pass. cfr. P.
Ehrenfreund et al., op..cit. p.. 26.;
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 Thanks to the great affinity between the two elements, water can
form everywhere in the cosmos where there is hydrogen together and oxygen
together with sufficient energy for activation. The presence of water has
been detected by the ISO satellite (Infrared Space
Observatory,1995), in distant regions of stellar formations, in
evolved stars, in distant galaxies, and in the solar system. We find it on
Mars, Venus and Jupiter, in the bodies of comets, in satellites and rings
of the giant planets. It is believed that there is also water beneath the
surface of Europe, one of the satellites of Jupiter. In the past Mars and
Venus probably had notable quantities of water (perhaps more than the
earth itself), lost in the course of time because of climatic mutations
(fluctuations of the rotation axis). On the earth water is present in the
liquid, solid and gasseous states; in other places in the solar system
only in the form of ice or vapour. The liquid state is favoured on the
earth by the constancy of the terrestrial temperature, by the presence of
a permanent atmosphere and by the stabilisation of the rotation axis by
the moon. It is more than credible that the presence of liquid water was
of fundamental importance for the birth of life. T.
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M.P. Bernstein, A.Scott, A. Sandford,
spazio, le molecole della vita>>,
Le Scienze, 373 (1999) pp. 34-42 ; E.L.O.
Blakes , <<The
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BRUNO J. R. NICOLAUS and GIORGIO TANGORRA  :<<DALLE STELLE AL PENSIERO>>, Atti della Accademia Pontaniana, Napoli, vol. LI (2002) in stampa; For inquiries and<reprints , address please: firstname.lastname@example.org