The Science of Existence (59) Atoms


Nothing exists except atoms and empty space. Everything else is opinion. ~ Democritus

All matter is made of atoms. An atom is a conglomeration of a nuclear core (nucleus) covered by a swirling cloud of electrons at a distant remove.

With its single proton and solitary electron, monatomic hydrogen (hydrogen-1) is the progenitor of all other matter. Unsurprisingly, hydrogen is by far the most abundant chemical element, constituting ~75% of material mass in the universe.

That atoms are spherical is a crude approximation. Only the simplest atoms come close to being round. Heavier atoms have more complex shapes.

There are 92 distinct configurations of atoms (species). Men with ungodly machines have created new heavy elements which rapidly decay for lack of natural stability – a gamey alchemy at the atomic level.

The maximum size of an atomic nucleus is determined by its tendency to decay. Obese nuclei decay by shucking off excess neutrons – particulate radioactivity.

There is no evil in the atom; only in men’s souls. ~ American politician Adlai Stevenson II