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Complexity Rising

by Rob Rey

We tend to think of evolution as a biological process of rising complexity that began with single-celled organisms here on earth, but the universe has been growing in complexity from the very beginning. Before there could be cells, there needed to be complex molecules and a host of elements to make them. The earliest known events of the universe generated only a few of the lightest elements: hydrogen, helium, and a little bit of lithium. Until the first stars formed and began fusing protons and neutrons into larger nuclei, the universe was devoid of heavier elements, including the carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen of which we are made. Other processes took these elements and bonded them into basic amino acids and other molecular precursors to life as we know it. Biological evolution on our planet is thought to be nearly as old as the Earth, but the complexity that made it possible has been accumulating since time began.

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6 x 8 inches

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Art to help make science a more meaningful part of our lives.

Through countless mythological and religious traditions, humanity has proven to have a deep-seated need for awe-inspiring stories and the experience of wonder. With a powerful resonance, these stories provide a framework for understanding where we fit in our communities, and in our cosmos. They can also give a us a feeling of shared connection and participation with the rest of humanity, helping us to show our more caring and compassionate side.

What are the resonant, positive, and awe-inspiring stories of today? How can our expanding scientific knowledge drive our enchantment with the natural world and grow our empathic interests toward our fellow humans? Exploring these questions visually, Rob hopes to promote or create the stories that best help us to achieve these goals.

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