Why is Energy Important?
Energy drives the universe. It is the basis for all life and everything in the universe. Without energy, there would be no big bang, no life on Earth, and no humans. Humans use energy in every single aspect of their lives. We use it to power everything in our homes and everything we come into contact with. All animals and plants are fueled by energy. Animals like us get energy from eating other animals or plants. Plants acquire their energy through photosynthesis, the process of breaking down the sun’s rays to turn it into chemical energy.
How has Collective Learning and Increasing Complexity Effected Energy?
Energy was first found at the Big Bang and produced stars and planets as new elements began to exist. Complexity increased again with these new elements, and energy was used to group stars and planets into solar systems. On Earth, energy has changed a lot over time. We originally used energy only in ourselves for activities and movement. As collective learning increased, we started building things like fires that produced energy. In the early 1800s, wood was the primary energy source, with early industrial growth powered by windmills. The Industrial Revolution occurred (an increase in collective learning and technology), causing coal to became dominant energy source in the 19th century, which was then overtaken by petroleum products in the 1950s and remains the dominant energy source today. A short time after petroleum became the dominant energy source, natural gas usage also rose quickly.
Astronomical View of Energy
Energy in astronomy is the common factor that connects every different study within astronomy. While there may be different subjects different astronomers cover, energy is always present and always a part of their research. In order to understand why something happens, they have to first look at the energy involved and what it affects in the research.
Biological View of Energy
Energy in biology is studied mainly in the way of how animals and plants obtain and use energy. We have already studied and found out that plants obtain their energy from photosynthesis, and animals obtain it from the food they eat. However, biologists further look into these and explore how the processes work.
Energy is used in Threshold 1, the Big Bang. Energy originated before the Big Bang. The leading theory to what energy powered the Big Bang is called the inflationary universe model. This model sees that just before the Big Bang, space was filled with an unstable form of energy whose nature is not yet known. Harvard’s universe forum says, “At some instant, the energy was transformed into the fundamental particles from which arose all the matter we observe today.” This means that the energy that caused the Big Bang now forms all the matter around us today.
Energy is used in Threshold 4 by the stars and planets coming together to form solar systems. Solar systems are formed when a nearby star explodes, creating a giant cloud of gas and dust and a lot of potential energy. Squeezing made the cloud start to collapse, as gravity pulled the gas and dust together, forming a solar nebula. Just like a dancer that spins faster as she pulls in her arms, the cloud began to spin as it collapsed. Eventually, the cloud grew hotter and denser in the center, with a disk of gas and dust surrounding it that was hot in the center but cool at the edges. As the disk got thinner and thinner, particles began to stick together and form clumps. Some clumps got bigger, as particles and small clumps stuck to them, eventually forming planets or moons. Energy completely drives this, and this process would not even be able to start without the energy of a star exploding.
Energy is used in Threshold 5 by life on Earth forming. This is a completely different use of energy than ever before. For the first time, there is actually an organic and living thing using energy to survive. The very first prokaryotic cells used the sun and chemicals to obtain energy and used it to move in the Earth's first oceans. Life obtained and used energy in a completely different way than ever before, so Threshold 5 is a completely new way for energy to be used.
Energy is used in Threshold 8 when an explosion of new energy sources occur on Earth, and it is used in new and more effective ways. The Modern Revolution has brand new sources of energy that we use in new ways for advanced technologies. This turn on the form of energy allows us to drive cars, fly airplanes, and even go to the moon. The Modern Revolution brought on humanity an increase in complexity and collective learning, as new technologies, like batteries, farther connected humans to each other. We can now store and use energy to our expense, more complex and advanced than ever before. This continuous acceleration also is due to new technologies due to the new uses of energy. Because of this, I believe that Threshold 8 is the biggest leap for energy than any other threshold.