Humans as stardust

Stardust 2s
The circa 2005 view of Lawrence Krauss of humans as made of "star dust" which he defines as the products of exploding stars, such as shown above left.
In hmolscience, humans as stardust refers to the model of a human as a mixture, product, and or composition of "star dust", star-stuff, or star detritus; terms, to note, which have a variety of vague undefined meanings, depending on user, e.g. "nebular gas" (Finnemore, 1924), "stuff that flows between stars" (Sagan, 1970), or "products of exploding stars" (Krauss, 2005).

Early views
In 1917, Canadian physician, poet, psychic, and astronomer Albert Watson (1859-1926), in his “Astronomy: A Cultural Avocation”, outlined a new age cosmic being stylized we are made of star-stuff overview. [8]

“Child of the universe, compounded of dust, air and ether, with a heart that thrills to the song of the morning stars and eyes that see them shimmer over the moon-silvered sea, what is more natural than that a man should be an astronomer? Astronomy is wholesome even in this, and helps to clear the way to a realization that as our bodies are an integral part of the great physical universe, so through them are manifested laws and forces that take rank with the highest manifestation of cosmic being. Thus we come to see that if our bodies are made of star-stuff, — and there is nothing else, says the spectroscope, to make them of— the loftier qualities of our being are just as necessarily constituents of that universal substance out of which are made ‘whatever gods there be’. We are made of universal and divine ingredients, and the study of the stars will not let us escape a wholesome and final knowledge of the fact.”

In 1924, Hilda Finnemore, in her A History of the Earth from Star-Dust to Man, a science booklet for children, outlined a nebula hypothesis “star-dust” to humans view of things; the gist of which is as follows: [1]

“Astronomers tell us of vast tracts set in the depths of space, filled with filmy, gaseous could, and these appear to be the stuff out of which suns are made. This immense mist of star-dust is throwing off worlds in an intensely hot or gaseous state. There, science suspects, may be the secret of our beginnings. Systems may wheel in space, and, in countless ages, cool to comfortable homes for the animal and vegetable families which come forth from them; minute mosses and lichens may develop into complex and highly organized plants and trees; single-celled atoms may unite and grow until man, which his wonderful brain, emerges; but what is it that causes the movement of the heavenly bodies, the growth of the cell, the unfolding and development of the organism? It is a motive power we may call ‘life’ or ‘energy’.”

In 1925, Alfred Lotka, in his Elements of Physical Biology, wherein he outlined a humans as mass composition table based physical entities, stated the following logic: [2]

“The evidence points clearly that the elements, such as we know them, are the product of ‘the general brewing of material which occurs under the intense heat in the interior of the stars.’ Out of such foundry came our own abode, if we accept the well-considered views of Eddington (1923): ‘I do not say that the earth was a gaseous body when it first became recognizable as an independent planet, but I am convinced that its material was at one time merged in a completely gaseous sun.’ And since we are of earth, ours also is the same origin. The hand that writes these words and the eye that reads them alike are composed of the selfsame atoms that came into being, ages and ages ago, in the young sun. Far, far more wonderful than any dream of old mythology is the story of our creation. Thus was the birth of man prepared in the grey dawn of time; thus the metal of his frame compounded in the flaming furnace of a star.”

Of note, quote checker Garson O’Toole (2013), traces the star-stuff model, aside from those mentioned above, to those including: Doris Lessing, Harlow Shapley, Vincent Cronin, William Barton, and or to an Serbian proverb, among other anonymous sources. [9]

A sampling of Carl Sagan and Lawrence Krauss humans are star stuff or stardust quotes.
Sagan | Star-stuff
In 1970, Carl Sagan, in his book Planetary Exploration, was referring to star-stuff as follows: “There is a place with four suns in the sky — red, white, blue, and yellow; two of them are so close together that they touch, and star-stuff flows between them.” [3]

In 1973, Sagan, in his The Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective, stated the following: [7]

“Our sun is a second- or third-generation star. All of the rocky and metallic material we stand on, the iron in our blood, the calcium in our teeth, the carbon in our genes were produced billions of years ago in the interior of a red giant star. We are made of star-stuff.”

In 1980, Sagan, in his PBS series Cosmos, co-written with his wife Ann Duryan, defined a human as “star-stuff” as follows: [4]

“The surface of the earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. From it we have learned most of what we know. Recently, we have waded a little way out, maybe ankle deep, and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We are made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”

This, having been seen by over 500 million people in 60 countries has since become a “widely popularized” image. [5]

Krauss | Stardust
In circa 2005, American astrophysicist Lawrence Krauss, during a talk [somewhere], referring to the above exploding star diagram, stated the following:

“Here’s a beautiful picture [below] from the Hubble Space Telescope of a distant galaxy, far far away and long long ago. It’s about a billion light-years away. We’re looking at it as it looked a billion years ago. So many of those stars no longer exist. Here’s an object that’s just as bright as the center of the galaxy. You would think it’s a start that’s close to our galaxy that just got caught in the picture. It’s not. It’s a star on the edge of that galaxy that has exploded. Exploding stars shine with a brightness of 10 billion stars. They’re the brightest fireworks in the universe. [They’re called] supernovas. They’re remarkable. This is something that I wrote a whole book about. Someone asked yesterday why I wrote that book. [The answer is] that it is the most poetic thing that I know about the universe. Richard Dawkins wrote a great book called Our Ancestor’s Tale: a Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Life (2004) (Ѻ), and I wrote a book about a different ancestor’s tale, it’s called Atom: an Odyssey from the Big Bang to Life and Earth … and Beyond (2001) (Ѻ). The amazing thing is that every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. The atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than the atoms in your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing that I know about physics. You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements: the carbon, the nitrogen, the oxygen, the iron, all the things that matter for evolution weren’t created at the beginning of time, they were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way they can get into your body, is if the stars were kind enough to explode. So forget Jesus, the stars died so that you could be here today!”

This quote, with a 600+ quote like GoodReads (Ѻ) rankings, is his most-popular quote.

Tyson | Star detritus
In 2006, Neil Tyson, in his Death by Black Hole: and Other Cosmic Quandaries, per influence of Carl Sagan, stated things thusly: [6]

“Yes, not only humans but also every other organism in the cosmos, as well as the planets or moons on which they thrive, would not exist but for the wreckage of spent stars. So you're made of detritus [from exploded stars]. Get over it. Or better yet, celebrate it. After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?”

This quote, to note, has only 100+ quote likes (Ѻ) on GoodRead, one sixth that of the Krauss version.

Tyson, here, for whatever reason, is referring to humans, in a somewhat derogatory and anthropomorphic way, as “star detritus”, which is polite for saying a human is "star sh*t", or something to this effect.

The following are related quotes:

“We are star stuff harvesting star light.”
— Carl Sagan (1980), “Who Speaks for Earth” (Ѻ), TV episode

1. Finnemore, Hilda. (1924). A History of the Earth from Star-Dust to Man (atoms, 21+ pgs). Longmans, Green, and Co.
2. Lotka, Alfred J. (1925). Elements of Physical Biology (republished (Ѻ) as: Elements of Mathematical Biology, which includes: corrections from Lotka’s notes and a completed list of his publications) (pdf) (Ѻ) (txt) (star, pgs. 272-73). Dover, 1956.
3. Sagan, Carl. (1970). Planetary Exploration (pg. 15) (Ѻ). University of Oregon Books.
4. (a) Sagan, Carl. (1980). “The Shores of the cosmic Ocean” (6:04-), Episode 1, Cosmos.
(b) Lessl, T.M. (1989). “The Priestly Voice” (pgs. 190-91), Quarterly Journal of Speech, 75:183-97.
(c) Locke, Simone. (2011). Re-crafting Rationalization: Enchanted Science and Mundane Mysteries (pg. 64). Routledge.
(e) Possamai, Adam. (2012). Handbook of Hyper-Real Religions (pg. 389). BRILL.
5. Locke, Simone. (2011). Re-crafting Rationalization: Enchanted Science and Mundane Mysteries (pg. 64). Routledge.
6. Tyson, Neil. (2006). Death by Black Hole: and Other Cosmic Quandaries (pg. 222). W.W. Norton.
7. Sagan, Carl. (1973). The Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective (producer: Jerome Agel) (pgs. 189-90). Anchor Press/Doubleday.
8. (a) Watson, Albert D. (1918). “Astronomy: A Cultural Avocation” (pg. 89), The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, 12(3):81-.
(b) Albert Durrant Watson – Wikipedia.
(c) O’Toole, Garson. (2013). “We Are Made of Star-Stuff: Carl Sagan? Albert Durrant Watson? Doris Lessing? Harlow Shapley? Vincent Cronin? Ancient Serbian Proverb? William E. Barton? Anonymous?” (Ѻ),, Jun 22.
9. O’Toole, Garson. (2013). “We Are Made of Star-Stuff: Carl Sagan? Albert Durrant Watson? Doris Lessing? Harlow Shapley? Vincent Cronin? Ancient Serbian Proverb? William E. Barton? Anonymous?” (Ѻ),, Jun 22.

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