The Rebellion of Molecules
In the final years of the twentieth century, research associated with the expansion of the universe brought to light new enigmas of enormous importance, revealing that what is unknown is far greater than we may have assumed. All the material that we can observe, known as visible matter, is a mere 5% of the components of the universe; the remaining 95% corresponds to phenomena of which we know little or nothing, which have been classified as dark. Despite the recent emergence of these new mysteries, there is a remarkable amount of evidence to support a major part of the narrative developed under the umbrella of science, which to a great extent answer the question of how the visible matter—which also forms living organisms —originated and has continued to transform.
The intention of this short book is to present, in an informative fashion, a brief biography of the visible matter, its origin and evolution, in an account in which there is evidence that evolutionary transformations have happened and happen. The birth of all the visible matter was immediately after what is known as the Big Bang, in the form of elementary particles of infinitely small size, supposedly emanated from energy. Very soon after (minutes) the formed matter composed the nuclei of the two smallest atoms, hydrogen and helium, starting a long period (millions of years) of infancy, when the pair of new-born atoms gave rise to gaseous clouds that began to form stars. Over the course of billions of years, inside stars are produced atoms of the heavier chemical elements, which “fertilise” the gaseous clouds when stars became extinct. When original visible matter added atoms of the heavier chemical elements, begins its adolescent period, enabling a limited number of chemical reactions in the gaseous clouds that led to the synthesis of some hundreds simple chemical compounds of utmost importance for subsequent evolution processes (e.g. water).
Around 4.5 billion years ago, the matter in a corner of the Milky Way galaxy formed a star (the Sun), with a few planets revolving around. On one of them, the Earth, the conditions were ideal for a few molecules, composed of atoms of four chemical elements (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen), to evolve over hundreds of millions of years through processes of a chemical nature, forming highly complex molecules which gave rise to life. It was the begin of the adult phase of the visible matter.
The title of the book refers to the evolutionary leap entailed by the formation of the first living organism from a group of complex molecules, as suggested by the most widely accepted scientific theories. Using a metaphorical account, the chemical system of complex molecules could have refused to accept the plan the laws of nature, which would inexorably lead it to the thermodynamic equilibrium, with the cessation of its activities. On the contrary, the molecular group rebelled against its fate, self-organising its activity in such a way that the molecular system—of chemical nature—perpetuated itself by transforming into a living organism—of biological nature.