Recycling stories, from earth to space
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A Belgian Odyssey of Phosphorus
Phosphorus is what crops eat in order to grow. Without phosphorus there's no food. And without food, well, you see where this is going... Yet, we're losing millions of tons of phosphorus every year, flushing it down our toilets and burying it in landfills. Why do we do this? What adventures do we put phosphorus in, instead of returning him to the crops? And what can we do differently in the future? In this talk we'll follow the journey of phosphorus through agricultural lands, dinner tables and sewers, and try to sketch a map to help him find his Ithaca.
Recycling a star
Marie Van de Sande
The saying that we are all made of stardust is true. Almost all the atoms in your body were forged in the hot cores of stars, long dead. As stars die, they expel their life's work into space. They can do this very dramatically by exploding as a supernova or in a more calm manner via a stellar outflow (the ultimate fate of our Sun). Besides atoms, they also produce dust in their final breaths. These tiny flecks of sand and sooth are building blocks for new generations of stars and planets. In this talk, we will follow the journey of these dust particles, from dead star to new planet.