The scientists took the challenge that they had given the mystics very seriously. “How do we explain existence?” they huddled together and whispered amongst themselves. Someone suggested, “Maybe if we zoomed down to the smallest particle of matter, then it would become simple to then multiply the singular-most particle of nature by itself to explain the construction of the Universe. This building block could explain the Theory of Everything. Voila!” Everyone nodded their heads, smiled at each other and got down to work.
|The atom of Oxygen gets stabilized when
it borrows one electron each
from the 2 atoms of Hydrogen
|Sodium sheds its extra electron to Chlorine and thus becomes
Electrically neutral and stable to form Salt molecule
|If the size of the electron orbit is that of a football stadium
then the size of the entire nucleus would be that of a marble
If you change the number of neutrons an atom has, you make an isotope of that element. And, if you change the number of protons an atom has, you change the type of element it is.Currently, scientists know of 118 different elements.These elements are arranged on a chart called the Periodic Table of Elements.
|The first 94 elements are found naturally, while the balance are synthesised in laboratory.|
|The gravity pulls you to your seat,the electromagnetic separates you from your seat,
while the strong force holds the nucleus together and the weak force create the radioactive decay.
Without these forces, everything would fall apart and float away.
But the rejoicing was premature ! The atom was NOT the smallest matter. While the electron is a truly fundamental particle (it is one of a family of particles known as leptons), it was found that neutrons and protons are made of smaller particles, known as quarks.
“Oh Gosh! when are where will this reduction of matter end?”, one of the younger scientists started lamenting. By the 1930, more subatomic particles were discovered, much smaller than atoms. Some were particles that made up the protons and neutrons. Some were anti-particles. The list of these subatomic particles discovered till now includes baryons, leptons, mesons, quarks, gluons, electrons and neutrinos. These subatomic particles were joined by light particles called photons.
Sub-atomic particles with different spins, charge and mass
PS: Every person’s journey of self-discovery is unique and different. This is mine and I am sharing the same. I am not looking for some Guru or expert who can give me readymade answers. I am travelling on this path and that journey itself is so enriching. I seek no short cut.
PPS: In my attempt to explain in the simplest language, I might be over-simplifying and rushing over subjects. This is good for first-timers or those seeking an overview, but might be too simplistic for someone deeply steeped in this knowledge. Do let me know, if you would like to understand in more details.
PPPS: Next week will be about theory of relativity and Einstein, black holes and the Cosmos. Do give your feedback.