Astrophysicists, as the periodic table above illustrates, view the universe a little differently from the rest of us, recognising that the vast majority of elements, including those from which we are formed, as metals forged in the furnaces of stars. Our bodies, Chapman concluded from her experience, are mere machines made from these stellar expulsions and kept running by starlight.
Our understanding of these life givers is however limited by the oldest generation of stars (annoyingly referred to as population III), which formed the first of those metals, being long gone. A situation Chapman compares to Andromedans trying to understand the human life-cycle based on a sample drawn from the queue at Disney’s Space Mountain and thus lacking pregnant women and under-sevens.
Many of the mysteries of modern astrophysics, such as how the black hole at the centre of our galaxy got so big, could, Chapman maintains, be solved with a better understanding of this lost generation. So it is that SITP Online welcomes Dr Chapman for an overview of the stellar archaeology and search for signals that is shedding light on this age of darkness.