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Living with the StarsHow the Human Body is Connected to the Life Cycles of the Earth, the Planets, and the Stars$
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Karel Schrijver and Iris Schrijver

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198727439

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727439.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 September 2021

The Human Elements

The Human Elements

Chapter:
(p.68) (p.69) 6 The Human Elements
Source:
Living with the Stars
Author(s):

Karel Schrijiver

Iris Schrijiver

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727439.003.0006

This chapter looks at the 21 elements that are known to be essential to human life. These are also the most commonly available in the world around us, if we ignore the inert noble gases and a few others: living organisms are built out of what they can easily obtain and use. We are mostly hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. Just the 11 most common elements in our bodies already add up to more than 99.99% of all the atoms in the body, and their mixture closely reflects the composition of seawater. The elemental atoms are grouped into molecules that may contain as many as several million atoms. These molecules are astonishingly diverse. Through these molecules, the elements enable oxygen transport, digestion, motion, and thought. Very few of the chemicals that we need to sustain the human body would exist in the absence of other life on Earth

Keywords:   growth, body, molecule, element, carbon, oxygen, hydrogen

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