Here’s What I Learned

There’s a project I’d like to take on. In that pursuit, I’ve been reading a lot about the atom and its nucleus, protons, neutrons and the electrons that orbit them all.

Part of the fascination has to do with the scale on which it occurs. For instance, the nucleus of an atom is roughly 1/10 of a millionth, millionth of a centimeter (10-&#185&#179 centimeter).

And, even though we’re talking about very tiny thing, all of it follows distinct laws of physics. That makes the whole a bit easier to explain and understand.

I had written a few weeks ago how I’m not being shy about contacting experts via email. This is a case in point. I’ve just spent over a half hour on the phone with an eminent expert from Yale University.

He had no clue who I was. It made no difference. He was learned and patient and I attempted my best sponge imitation. I don’t know what he knows, but I’ve now got a better foundation for continuing to study.

During our conversation he used a few analogies. Here’s my favorite, describing the size of the nucleus of an atom.

If the nucleus of an atom was the size of a fly, and it was sitting on 2nd base in Yankee Stadium, the electrons would be outside the stadium.

I’m still trying to get my arms around the astounding force necessary to hold those electrons in their place versus the relative size of the nucleus.

Anyway, it’s been an education and I really hope this project comes through.

Blogger’s note: Corrected an editing error thanks to Rod Richardson.

3 thoughts on “Here’s What I Learned”

  1. “If the nucleus of an atom was the size of a fly, and it was sitting on 2nd base in Yankee Stadium, the atoms would be outside the stadium.” You mean the “electrons” would be outside the stadium, don’t you?

    By the way, I enjoy the blog and visit fairly often (found it via the WTNH web site last year). Congratulations on your recent educational milestone!

  2. Geoff,

    I enjoyed chatting with you in Birmingham! Also, you have a great blog. You’ll have to teach me how to do this. 🙂


    Travis Christy

    El Paso, TX

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