207th 2YC3 Conference Abstract

Origin of the Elements

Dr. Mike Reynolds; Dr Joseph Langat; and Professor John Taylor
Florida State College @ Jacksonville


    Thermonuclear Fusion          Nuclear Change: Nuclear Fusion

When we teach a chapter on Thermodynamics, the Standard Enthalpy of Formation of an element is defined as zero joules/mole. Have you every placed the question to the students:


Dr. Joseph Langat has been using clickers to stimulate students in his chemistry classrooms to attempt them to “Think Critically”

After a few ideas are proposed between students, show a video clip from the 2010 Science/Discovery Channel Series: How the Universe Works - Season 1: Episode #3: The Big Bang Theory or a clip from National Geographic’s Naked Science Series “Birth of the Universe”.

How the Universe Works          Birth of the Universe - Space - How was the Universe created?         

One segment discusses the creation of matter and then antimatter and a minute imbalance one unit in 100,000,000 crates matter from energy, then an electron, then a proton, then the element hydrogen. This clip will be shown to the participants.

Nuclear Fusion created the elements from helium to iron with an incredible amount of energy needed, but higher masses of elements could not be formed in the beginning until another event happened!

Traditionally texts do not delve into Nuclear Chemistry until the end of the book. Most do not discuss the origin of the elements, until recently Wiley’s Jespersen’s 7tgh edition has two pages summarizing the two above films in Chapter Zero.

Now discussions of radiation and nuclear change are introduced early in these texts, before thermodynamics. To end the lesson, again the students are poled about the original question: Why?

Go a step farther ask the students how old are the atoms of oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen in their bodies that are part of our life cycle?