The Goldilocks Zone

“This porridge is too hot!” she exclaimed. So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl.”This porridge is too cold,” she said. So, she tasted the last bowl of porridge.”Ahhh, this porridge is just right,” she said happily and she ate it all up………..


Todays post is about the Goldilocks Zone. This is the principle that for an effect where there are extremes (i.e. too hot, too cold) there will always be an average. Now I thought this only applied to habitable planets and astrophysics, but it has been applied to biology, chemistry and psychology, also.

For example, in biology this can be producing by-products of metabolism that can damage DNA (ROS, see Antioxidants post). Too much of the ROS products, including hydrogen peroxide, can results in deleterious and unrepairable DNA damage, while too little does not stimulate normal cellular mechanisms. Thus there is an amount of ROS that the cell tolerates and requires, and is thus the “Goldilocks” amount – ‘just right’.

In astrophysics, the Goldilocks zone refers to the area around a star containing dust and gas, where the temperature is just right for liquid water to exist on a planet, and is thus habitable.

Interestingly, the Goldilocks Zone is based on the assumption that lifeforms need water, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen to survive. Therefore, the Goldilocks Zone is really only applicable to our planet and needs. Thus, in other systems, what is right for us is too hot or too cold for other lifeforms!




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