Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

The best estimate for the overall mass of the universe is 3.14*1054 kg The average weight of an adult male in the United States is about 86 kg

That means that the average person is only .00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000027388535% of the universe.

To give you a sense of scale, your body is made up of atoms which are far too small to see without highly sophisticated measurement equipment. The mass of atoms is measured in AMU (atomic mass units) which are equivalent to about 1.66053886e-27 kg. Again assuming an average mass of 86 kg, that means that a single proton (1AMU) is .0000000000000000000000000000193085914% of your body

So comparing these two numbers, we get the following equation (conveniently formatted for Google calculator if you’re interested): (1.93085914 × (10(-29))) / (2.7388535 × (10(-53))) = 7.04988105 × 1023

That last number, 7.04988105e23? That is a comparison of the relative mass of a single proton to the average human body, compared to the relative mass of the average human body to the rest of the universe.

That means that a single proton, a particle so small that it’s all but impossible to comprehend its insignificance is nearly seven septillion times more significant to your body, than your body is to the universe.

Taking things a bit further, if you look up paleodemography you’ll see that the best estimate for the number of people who have ever lived is somewhere around 115 billion.

With that in mind, let’s calculate the mass of everyone who has ever lived compared to the mass of the universe (not accounting for the fact that we sometimes share atoms with our ancestors): 115 000 000 000 * (2.7388535 × (10(-53))) = 3.14968152 × 10-42

And let’s compare that to our proton: (1.93085914 × (10(-29))) / (3.14968152 * (10(-42))) = 6.13033136 × 1012

So this means that a single unimaginably tiny proton is still over six trillion times more significant to your body than the entirety of the human race compared to the universe.

Think about that the next time you get really angry about something.

(copied without permission from


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