As hard as it may be to believe, take a look outside. I don’t mean a glance, I mean to take areal look. At all the things there are to see — the rocks, trees, mountains, skies, clouds, Sun, water, and everything alive — all of it.
Now ask yourself, “what’s it made of?”
At a fundamental level — like everything else you know of — everything on Earth is made of atoms. Oxygen, Hydrogen, Carbon, Nitrogen, Calcium, Iron, Gold, etc., all the elements of the Universe combine together in a huge variety of ways to create everything we know of an observe in the Universe. When we peer inside of them, we can find the very thing that gives each and ever atom its special properties.
Unbelievably, it’s simply the number of protons in each atom’s nucleus. And this huge variety of things that we have in our world only comes about because of the huge variety andabundance of these elements, from Hydrogen to Uranium and beyond.
Perhaps surprisingly, the Universe is made up of (by mass) about 76% Hydrogen, 24% Helium, and less than 0.0000001% of everything else, combined. The Universe has no problem cooling and forming neutral atoms after this, but with just Hydrogen, Helium, and minuscule, trace amounts of everything else, you’ve got to wonder at what we have today.
In other words, where does all this come from?
How we made all the elements we have today is the same way we’re making them right now: in stars.