Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Why does it matter how many atoms there are in the observable universe?

arroba Email

Because it’s a figure we can work with to determine the probability of purely random events. Here’s a stab at it:

On average, a star weighs around 2.2×10^32 pounds (10^32 kilograms), according to Science ABC, which means that the mass of the universe is around 2.2×10^55 pounds (10^55 kilograms). Now that we know the mass, or amount of matter, we need to see how many atoms fit into it. On average, each gram of matter has around 10^24 protons, according to Fermilab, a national laboratory for particle physics in Illinois. That means it is the same as the number of hydrogen atoms, because each hydrogen atom has only one proton (hence why we made the earlier assumption about hydrogen atoms).

This gives us 10^82 atoms in the observable universe. To put that into context, that is 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms.

This number is only a rough guess, based on a number of approximations and assumptions. But given our current understanding of the observable universe, it is unlikely to be too far off the mark.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated at 12:10 p.m. ET on July 12, 2021 to remove an extra zero from the 10^82 number.

Harry Baker, “How many atoms are in the observable universe?” at LiveScience

Baker’s article offers a number of preliminary calculations as well.

If this figure of 10^82 is reasonable, we could ask questions like the likelihood of throwing a billion heads in a row in coin tosses. If that’s out of range, what about the likelihood of similar feats created by natural selection acting on random mutation (Darwinism)?

The ID AND YeC creation science compatible 'SPIRAL cosmological redshift hypothesis and model', is over 150 Trillion :1 times more reasonable description of all the empirical cosmological observations, based on size, density and a straight line entropy factor, than the competing current consensus champion SCM-LCDM model. If SPIRAL the entire universe approximates the visible universe, (the universe attained mature size and density relatively early in history) w/ an estimated radius of 2B LY, and normal matter is over 99% of all matter. So these types of speculation that assume consensus are far from the highest probability science. SPIRAL is volume II of the Pearlman YeC series for the alignment of Torah testimony, Science and Ancient Civ. Pearlman
Jerry, Blume's DNA book just arrived ET
I suggest everyone read Stephen Blume’s book, the Evo-Illusionist. He emphasizes how amazing the DNA to protein process is but it is one of least amazing things about life. What controls everything? There are zillions of things going on and no one has a clue what controls any of it. Molecules by the trillions are whizzing around the cell and going to the right places and nobody has a clue what directs them. And then there is the issue of what places each cell type at just the right place during gestation. Trillions of cells end up exactly at the right spot. And what determines the cell type? And exactly how are they created at the right time. DNA is hardly the miracle of life. jerry
as to this question of: "Why Does It Matter How Many Atoms There Are In The Observable Universe?" Hugh Ross and Rob Sheldon have pointed out that if the amount of mass in the universe had been significantly different, we would not be here to talk about it.
Where Is the Cosmic Density Fine-Tuning? - Hugh Ross Excerpt: I have used the illustration that adding or subtracting a single dime to the mass of the observable universe would be enough of a change to make physical life impossible. This word picture helps to demonstrate a number used to quantify that fine-tuning, namely 1 part in 10^60. Compared to the total mass of the observable universe, 1 part in 10^60 works out to about a tenth part of a dime.,,, http://www.reasons.org/where-cosmic-density-fine-tuning Bang for the Buck: What the BICEP2 Consortium's Discovery Means - Rob Sheldon - March 19, 2014 Excerpt: “But the inflationary claim is more spectacular because it was even more unexpected. Inflation was Alan Guth’s attempt to explain why the early universe after the Big Bang was so very “flat,”which is to say, why the force of the explosion matched the force of gravity to one part in 10 to the 60. To put this in perspective, there are about 10 to the 80 protons in the visible universe, so 10 to the 20 protons, about one grain of sand, would have unbalanced the Big Bang, causing it either to recollapse into a black hole, or to expand so fast as to never form stars and galaxies. One grain of sand more, one grain less and we would not be here.” - Rob Sheldon - http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/03/bang_for_the_bu083451.html
as to: "If this figure of 10^82 is reasonable, we could ask questions like the likelihood of throwing a billion heads in a row in coin tosses,,," Or perhaps we could ask about a single functional protein forming by chance:
Origin: Probability of a Single Protein Forming by Chance - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1_KEVaCyaA

Leave a Reply