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An Atomic Idea: How We Discovered the Atom


In Brief
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  • The diameter of an atom ranges from about 0.1 to 0.5 nanometers – they are a million times smaller than the thickest human hair. r
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  • We’ve known about atoms since the 17th century. But how do we know they exist if they are so small?

Atoms are small. Very small. Ridiculously so, even.

Atoms are so small that they’re kind of impossible to comprehend. Of course, that wont stop us from trying. But wait, if atoms are so small, how do we know about them at all? You can’t see them with a light microscope, or prod at an atom with a scalpel; how did we find them?

You may be surprised to hear that we’ve known about atoms since the seventeenth century, and people have proposed the existence of atoms since before the common era.

Uncertainty Principle is a podcast by Daniel James Barker

Music by:

Lee Rosevere Chris Zabriskie Joseph Barker

Check out the video by Ted-ed:

You can find Uncertainty Principle online here.

Thanks for listening, keep exploring.

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