why the sun shines – (a folk tale) – ronny (13)

The Smiling Sun!

The Smiling Sun!

There once existed a hydrogen atom. He had a proton and an electron, and was quite full of himself. Still, he aspired for a neutron. For those who had neutrons were…helium atoms! They were stronger, heavier, and bigger than the plain old hydrogen atoms. To be an atom of helium was, so it seemed, infinitely preferable than to live out the life of a measly H1.
Now, this hydrogen atom thought a lot of himself. So one day he says to another:
“Well, I’m really a helium atom, but a little skimpy.
Says the other:
“Don’t try to pull my quark; you’re no more of a helium atom than O2 over there is a metal!”
“Alas!” says the former. “I’ve been lying through my electron cloud!”
But the other did not spite him, for he too was a measly hydrogen to be blamed for the Hindenberg. So they sat together and knocked their nuclei to try and find out how to become an atom of helium.
Soon enough, though, a helium atom buzzed by!
Says the first hydrogen:
“Why, you’re a helium atom!
And the second:
“Would you be so kind as to tell us how you got to that state?”
The helium atom, who was old and wise, said:
“I would inform you, but it is not a good topic for young hydrogens like you.”
The hydrogens of course assumed that he was guarding against them becoming his equal, and so pestered him for half-lifes on end until he gave in and told them the secret.
Says he:
“So, to become a helium atom like myself, you two must bump into each other at extremely high speeds, and therefore combine into one helium atom. The bad part is, only one of you will survive. The other will go…to the periodic table and become a Lanthanide.’
A Lanthanide!
And so the old and wise helium left, thinking that he had deterred the two.
Says the first hydrogen:
“Well, friend, it has been a pleasure but I’m afraid it will have to be me who goes on to become a helium. After all, it was my idea to become a helium.”
The other, of course, wouldn’t concede life, though it was pretty miserable. So the two quarreled and fought like mangy dogs over a bone, and soon enough others began to take sides.
Third and fourth hydrogens joined the fray, saying:
“The second’s got a right to live! You, number one! Bugger off!”
“But it was his idea from the start. He should be promoted.”
And so on and so forth until the argument numbered thousands of atoms screaming from each side. Eventually, one of the atoms punched the other and another punched him and yet another punched the other, who was helping the other other get his charges in order and then it happened: one nuclear reaction, then two, then three, then five, [then many other numbers of the Fibonacci sequence], and the sun sputtered to life and began to exude heat and light. And so the sun shines now.

Advertisements