Evolution of life

Evolution of life (part 1)

A spark of life

“We can allow satellites, planets, suns, universe, nay whole systems of universes, to be governed by laws, but the smallest insect, we wish to be created at once by special act.”

Charles Darwin

Evolution is a process of transformation of the genetic structures of the organisms. An organism born with a certain genetic disorder could have offspring without the genetic disorder.


Nearly all organisms live in a form of a population. They form a cooperative community in which the members of the population thrives. When the population is below the carrying capacity of the environment (There are enough resources for most individuals), the organisms will reproduce. When a male and female of reproductive age is present in a similar environment, they will reproduce and the population will increase.

Some time ago…

About 4,5 billion years ago, the Earth was formed. There was no life or any substance that could replicate itself.

The first life on Earth were micro-organisms (A bacteria-like micro-organism). This occurred roughly 3 billion years ago.

Algae appeared after the bacteria-like organisms (they occurred about 1 billion years after the micro-organisms).

The mutation and evolution of the nucleotide sequences in DNA are slow and occur over a long period of time. The differences between organisms that are more closely related seem to have sequences that are similar compared to those that are further apart on the evolutionary timescale.

The processes of nearly all organisms are similar and it is deduced that all the organisms may have originated from a single micro-organism.

Processes which are similar:

  • All organisms store fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
  • Amino acids are produced in the cells/cell of an organism.

Mutations occur when the nucleotide is altered such as the deletion, replacement or inversion of a nucleotide or a part of it.

“If you go far enough back, your genome connects you with bacteria, butterflies, and barracuda – the great chain of being linked together through DNA.”

Spencer Wells




“Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature.”

Michael Faraday

The electromagnetic force

The electromagnetic force is one of the four fundamental forces of the universe.

The interaction of electrical and magnetic effects is known as electromagnetism. It is the force responsible for their interaction. The moving electric charges result in magnetic fields.

What is an electromagnet?

Electromagnets are like ‘temporary magnets’. Electricity flows through a coil of wire wrapped around a rod-shaped form.

Electromagnets are found in a variety of applications including doorbells, telephones and devices used to move magnetic materials.

Motors and generators

A motor is a device that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. The mechanical rotation of the shaft of a motor is what causes it to do work.

Electrons in a wire experiences a force caused by the magnetic field. That force is used to do work.

A generator is a device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. When a magnet is moved downward into a loop of wire, a current is induced.

“The mind of man has perplexed itself with many hard questions. Is space infinite, and in what sense? Is the material world infinite in extent, and are all places within that extent equally full of matter? Do atoms exist or is matter infinitely divisible?”

James Clerk Maxwell



Solving the cosmic mysteries

Solving the cosmic mysteries


“General relativity is the cornerstone of cosmology and astrophysics. It has also provided the conceptual basis for string theory and other attempts to unify all the forces of nature in terms of geometrical structures.”

Paul Davies

Particles are imagined as being point-like but in string theory it is reimagined as being one-dimensional strings. String theory was developed to explain the behaviour of hadrons (Protons, neutrons and all other particles that make up the atomic nucleus). It was abandoned by physicists as it requires extra, unseen dimensions. The strings are called branes and could have anything between 0 to 9 dimensions.

Interactions are based on the strings ability to have its end join and split apart.


String theory attempts to unite all four fundamental forces of nature (Electromagnetic force, the strong nuclear force and gravity). The fundamental forces were believed to be unified during the early stages of the universe.

Dark matter

The gravitational effects observed in our universe doesn’t correlate with the matter seen. The universe contains a form of matter that we can’t directly observe or see. There’s much more dark matter than ordinary matter, ordinary matter only makes up about 4% of our entire universe.

After the big bang , the energy of the event was transferred into matter and antimatter. This would have caused the different forms of matter to annihilate each other. The universe consists of more matter than antimatter which makes up the visible universe.

A theory of everything might explain why matter was favoured.

“Quantum mechanics brought an unexpected fuzziness into physics because of quantum uncertainty, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. String theory does so again because a point particles replaced by a string, which is more spread out.”

Edward Witten

Part 1:

Solving the cosmic mysteries

Black holes:

A briefer history of black holes

The big bang


The particle zoo


The strings of unity


Solving the cosmic mysteries

A theory of everything?

“String theory is an attempt at a deeper description of nature by thinking of an elementary particle not as a little point but as a little loop of vibrating string.”

Edward Witten

The strangeness of quantum mechanics were explored by various physicists whom explained the quantum interactions in terms of exchanging ‘virtual’ particles. More subatomic particles emerged of the collisions of other particles. The standard model of particle physics emerges from the fundamental particles of nature according to their properties.

There is a search for the theory of everything – a theory that would unite all four fundamental forces of nature.

  • A theory of everything is a suggested hypothesis for the unity of the fundamental forces.
  • In the beginning of the universe, it is proposed that all four fundamental forces were united as one super force.
  • The gravitational force was the first to separate.
  • The nuclear force was separated at about 10^27K.
  • At last the electromagnetic force and weak forces were separated.

Deep puzzles remain to be solved and a theory that would unite quantum mechanics with general relativity.

String Theory

An idea of tiny vibrating strings that makes up our entire universe is quite remarkable. Think of the universe as it is made up of tiny strings of energy and not point like figures. Waves of vibrations found within the strings give rise to quantized behaviour that is described as nature.


(String theory will be explained in the next entry.)

“If string theory is a mistake, it is not a trivial mistake. It is a deep mistake and therefore kind of worthy.”

Lee Smolin

Solving your problems using art

Solving your problems using art

Art portrays reality and sometimes our fictional reality. It can be expressed visually or auditory, and even a combination of both. Art shaped our minds over the millennia and is a depiction of society of its era.

Most of us have left our artistic selves in early childhood when drawings of yellowed houses with red roofs were common.

Art can be used to improve your quality of life (and state of mind).

Art to help increase self-esteem

Everyone has had body issues at least once in their lives. The media is plagued with images of porcelain models and we are exposed to it’s images of ‘perfection’. In this madness we forget what real bodies look like and we assume that all bodies are to be the same.

Taking life drawing classes helps improve self confidence and exposes us to a range of different body types promoting positive body imaging. This improves the self esteem of individuals.

Dealing with difficult issues

Are you facing a problem and need help to find a solution. Try doodling your current situtation and possible outcomes on a blank sheet of paper. Your creativity may surprise you, even if you can barely draw a stickfigure. You may find yourself to be much more calm and relaxed. Our brains are designed to process images so drawing will be a lot more effective.

If you are too stressed, singing a song or humming may help ease your tensions.


Are you overly stressed?

Colouring books used to be considered ‘child’s play’ but this activity has turned into an interesting hobby for adults. It’s a great way to pass time and express yourself. if you hate doodling or can’t seem to draw a stick figure, consider purchasing an adult colouring book.

“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it”

Salvador Dali


A journey within

A journey within


“Evolution is a tightly coupled dance, with life and the material environment as partners. From the dance emerges the entity Gaia.”

James Lovelock

The living and the not so living

All living things are composed of cells. A cell is the smallest unit of any organism that can survive on its own. Some organisms consists of only one cell (bacteria and protists are single cells).



You may have recognised that family members are surprisingly similar. What causes family members to have similar traits? Organisms were thought to have carried some sort of ‘material’ or essence within them that determined their traits.

how your identity is determined

Traits are passed from parents to their offspring. The ‘material’ that determines the traits inherited are located in cells. This ‘material’ or genes are carried on chromosomes and determines the identity of any organism.

Evolution of cells (simplified)

Complex animal cells contain organelles and other material which the much simpler bacteria cells lack.

A division occurs and the organelles duplicates. (The material of the chloroplast and mitochondria are similar to bacteria).

The complex animal cells and ‘bacteria’ form a symbiotic relationship.

“Midi-chlorians are a microscopic life form that reside within all living cells and communicates with the Force.”

Qui-Gon Jinn


“You can find bacteria everywhere. They are invisible to us. I have never seen a bacterium, except under a microscope. They are so small, we do not see them, but they are everywhere.”

Bonnie Bassler

Bacteria are single-celled organisms that occurs in nearly every imaginable place possible. They cause disease, forms symbiotic relationship with our cells or are simply benign.

Bacteria cells lack nuclei that animal and plant cells contain. Bacteria are often confused and though to be viruses (which are not considered alive and can only reproduce inside the cells of living hosts).

“A virus is a form of life with very simple requirements. The basic needs of a virus are a nucleic acid to be transmitted from generation to generation (the genome) and a messenger RNA to direct the synthesis of viral proteins. The critical viral proteins that the messenger RNA must encode are those that coat the genome and those that help replicate the genome. One of the great surprises of modern virology has been the discovery of the variety of genetic systems that viruses have evolved to satisfy their needs. Among the animal viruses, at least 6 totally different solutions to the basic requirements of a virus have been found.”



Inside the mind (part 2)


“Cogito ergo sum.”

Rene Descartes

The nervous system

The nervous system processes information. It consists of a network of nerves and cells that transfers the information to and from the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain) to the outer body. The changes that occurs creates our reality. We respond, think and feel as these changes occurs.




The nervous system can be depicted as a branching diagram. The nervous system is divided into the central nervous  system and the peripheral nervous system. 

The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system is a collection of sensory nerves (Transfers information to the central nervous system)  and motor nerves (Sends information away from central nervous system).

Evolution of the nervous system

The nervous system developed in animals. The central nervous system began to take its current formation when an end enlarged and form a ‘head-like’ shape. This process is known as encephalization. The nervous system became increased its functions and abilities. Additional structures came into being and the primitive brain evolved.

Peripheral nervous system

The peripheral nervous system consists of axons and dendrites groped together to form nerve cells or neurons. The function of these neurons is to transfer information to and from the central nervous system.

The differences between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems


“Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into the lazy habit of thinking.”

Albert Einstein