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Arecibo Gold

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STONED CARL. Fortyish brainy-looking academic in turtleneck and sport coat with elbow patches.

SCENE. STONED CARL is center stage, perhaps behind podium or lectern. LIGHTS UP on STONED CARL.

STONED CARL: (holding up a joint) If you want to make a marihuana cigarette from scratch, (beat) you must first create the universe.

In the beginning, the universe is so energetic – so hot – that everything is melted together. In the first microseconds, the universe expands and cools and the fundamental forces – gravity, electromagnetism, and the nuclear forces – precipitate into existence. In the next second, the basic particles condense and form, but the universe is still too hot for atoms to exist.

For the next 37,000 years, matter boils with light until the universe expands from an opaque fog to where light can travel through transparent space instead of colliding into matter. It is this light, this relic radiation of the Big Bang, that we detect as the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation.

In the first hundred million years, the first stars coalesce from the primordial hydrogen and helium. As yet, there is no oxygen, no carbon, no nitrogen.

(STONED CARL lights the doobie)

These heavier elements, required for life as we know it, are formed in the hearts of stars and then later expelled into space. We --

(STONED CARL inhales, holds, exhales)

-- are made of star-stuff.

To be continued...