Resp Phys 3: Atmospheric Gases
Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.
– Edwin Hubble
Welcome to the third podcast in the Basic Science Clinic Raw Science series. Following our investigation of the how and why of oxygen, you may be eagerly anticipating the gas’ entry into the respiratory system, prompting a discussion of gas flow, partial pressures and similarly patient-based physiology. Think again. Resisting the urge to dive down the trachea, we need to describe some foundational concepts to fine tune the resolution of your understanding. Enter atmospheric physics. Remember physiology is functional biology, biology is effectively applied chemistry, and chemistry is applied physics.
This week we discuss the physics of atmospheric gas in the biosphere. Such a topic raises discussion of fluid and gauge pressure, heat and temperature, the SI units and clearly, why the sky is blue.
Feedback, requests and corrections are always welcome.
Raw Science Factoids
- The atmosphere has a total mass of 5 x 1018kg, or 5 quintillion kg or 5 zettagrams (1021), which is 5 sextillion grams.
- Every square metre of Earth has 10 tonnes of atmosphere pressing down on it.
- The average temperature of the universe is 2.73K, which is -270.42°C.