I wanted to add a little bit more to the last post, but it was already getting quite long and I thought it would be best to publish this seperately.
Atoms are vitally important, but trying to explain what they are is not always the most fascinating of tasks. However one thing about them really does interest me. Not because it’s complicated or because its on the edge of scientific discovery, just because I think it’s interesting.
That thing is the amount of space inside of them.
In general most people when asked to look at the world around them would comment on the buildings nearby, or the tree they might be sitting beneath. Some may even point out to the stars and talk about how far away they are. Very few people however will point out to the stars and comment on how much empty space there is between us and the little burning dots.
The odd truth is that if we look anywhere in the world we can make a remark about how much empty space there is between everything. Even in the atom.
If I bring my extremely artistic drawing back up here:
It’s not always obvious at first, but there’s a lot of distance between the shell and the nucleus. In fact in real life the shell is much further away than this picture suggests, and much smaller than the nucleus. Between these two parts of the atom is absolutely nothing, pure empty space.
So because of this, even when you look at a solid brick wall (even one made from Lego), what you are looking at is about 99.999 etc % (almost all of it) empty space. But because of the way atoms work, and the way they all fit together, what we end up seeing is the tiny fraction of a percentage that isn’t empty space.
Sometimes it’s a bit of a wonder how we see anything at all!