Man’s curiosity to understand how the world works have been fuelling the pathway for various scientific discoveries for centuries. Discoveries like the world’s hardest substance to the world’s smallest constituent particle of matter, an atom, are a result of our never-ending curiosity about the universe. With an atom being the smallest constituent unit of ordinary matter that has the properties of the chemical element, the generic features of an atom are quite startling for the common man. Let us look at a few facts about atoms which I’m sure will make you even more curious about our universe and its constituents.
- Two billion atoms can fit on the full stop at the end of this sentence. The size of an atom varies from 0.1 to 0.5 nanometers (1 nm = 1 × 10−9 m). Talking about atomic structure, an electron is 1/1,836th the size of a proton or neutron which is responsible for bonding but it does not contribute much to the atom’s mass. Supposedly if we take a case where an atom is the size of a football stadium, the nucleus which contains the neutrons and protons would be the size of a small pea. Coming to human terms we can say that the human body has 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms and 98% of them are replaced every year.
- An atom is theoretically 99.999% empty space. If we look at the electronic configuration of an atom, the nucleus at the center of the atom takes up only a small percentage of the space but it usually covers 99.94% of the atom’s mass. Technically speaking if we were to remove the space between atoms, we could fit the entire population of humans into an orange.
- Number of atoms in 1 teaspoon of water = 3 x Number of teaspoons of water in the Atlantic Ocean. To put a perspective on things, the size of the Atlantic Ocean is larger than the combined sizes of Asia, Africa and North America. With an estimated amount of 6.3 x 1022 teaspoons of water in the Atlantic, try to fathom the fact that the number of atoms in a teaspoon of water is 3 times the number of teaspoons of water in the Atlantic.
- There are more possible iterations in a chess game than the overall number of atoms in the universe. In a game of chess, the overall number of iterations possible has been calculated to be 10120, whereas the total number of atoms in the observable universe is believed to lie between 1078-1082.
Thus, here we have stated a few fun facts about atoms which will help you to have a new outlook on life. But keep in mind that this is just the tip of the iceberg, atoms aren’t the smallest constituent particles of matter, and there are even smaller particles like quarks and gluons. To know more fun facts on topics of chemistry like thermodynamics and more check out this