PROLOGUE: THE COSMIC CONNECTION

 

 

PART ONE: ATOMS                        

 

 

CHAPTER 1:  THE ALPHABET OF NATURE

            How we discovered that everything on Earth is made of atoms

 

CHAPTER 2:  ATOMS ARE NOT THE SMALLEST THINGS

            How we discovered that atoms are made of smaller

            things and that heavy atoms can change into lighter

            atoms, unleashing a damburst of energy

 

 

PART TWO: ATOMS AND STARS

 

 

CHAPTER 3:  THE DISINTEGRATING SUN

            How we came to realise that the Sun must be drawing

            on the energy locked inside atoms

 

CHAPTER 4:  DEDUCTIONS FROM A GLIMMER OF STARLIGHT

            How we discovered that the same atoms present on

            Earth also exist in the Sun and stars but that the

            disintegration of atoms cannot be powering the Sun

 

CHAPTER 5:  THE ANOMALOUSLY HIGH MASS OF HYDROGEN

            How we discovered that the conversion of a light atom

            into a heavier atom would unleash a damburst of

            energy and the suggestion was made that such a

            process was powering the Sun

 

CHAPTER 6:  THE INFERNAL CONSTITUTION OF STARS

            How we discovered the incredible conditions inside

            the Sun and stars but realised that the temperature

            was far too low to convert hydrogen into helium

 

CHAPTER 7:  TUNNELLING IN THE SUN

            How we found that the fusion of hydrogen in the Sun

            was possible after all and identified a plausible

            process for accomplishing the feat

 

CHAPTER 8:  A RECIPE FOR SUNLIGHT

            How we discovered the precise manner in which

            hydrogen is converted into helium inside stars

 

 

PART THREE: THE MAGIC FURNACE

 

 

CHAPTER 9:  THE FORGE OF GOD

            How we discovered that the mix of elements was the

            same everywhere in the Universe and realised that the

            atoms in our bodies had actually been made

 

CHAPTER 10: THE INFERNO AT THE DAWN OF TIME

            Were the elements made in the fireball of a hot Big

            Bang?

 

CHAPTER 11: THE KEY TO THE STARS

            How we discovered that the stars contain the key to

            unlocking the secret of atoms and the atoms the key

            to unlocking the puzzle of the stars

 

CHAPTER 12: THE ULTIMATE NUCLEAR WEAPON

            How we found dramatic proof that the extraordinary

            temperatures and densities necessary to make heavy

            elements really did exist inside stars

 

CHAPTER 13: BEYOND THE BERYLLIUM BARRIER

            How the major obstacle to building elements in stars

            was finally removed

 

CHAPTER 14: THE CRUCIBLES OF STARS

            How we finally discovered the main processes that

            made the atoms in our bodies

 

CHAPTER 15: A TALE OF TWO SITES

            How we learnt that the chemical elements were made

            in two places--inside stars and in the fireball of

            the Big Bang

 

CHAPTER 16: THE ENGINES OF CREATION

            How a death in the neighbourhood highlighted the way

            in which heavy elements are vomited into space and

            enrich the gas drifting between the stars

 

 

EPILOGUE: THE ATOMS OF CURIOSITY