Why Atoms?

atom1I’ll be the first to admit this
is a bright but haunted age
I just don’t know now
now I just can’t say hey hey
And you keep slipping down the surface of things
I just cant take it now,
I just cant wait for more when you get down
down to the sub atomic part of it thats
when it breaks you know,
thats when it falls apart oh caveat emptor,
open the atoms core ….

the glory of the atom
begs a reverent word
the primary design
of the whole universe
yes, let us sing its praises
let us bow our heads in prayer
at the magnificent consciousness
incarnate there

the smallest unit of matter
with its orbiting electrons
echoing off the solar system
like a hawk in the hills at dawn
the smallest unit of matter
uniting bird and rock and tree
and you and me…

The idea that all matter is made from a combination of a small number of simple things goes back to the beginning of recorded history. The ancient Greeks proposed several unifying ideas one of which was a fairly atomic theory, attributed by the poet Lucretius in his poem “On the Nature of Things”.
“No rest is granted to the atoms throughout the profound void, but rather driven by incessant and varied motions,some after being pressed together then leap back with wide intervals, some again after the blow are tossed about within a narrow compass. And those begin held in combination more closely condensed collide with and leap back through tiny intervals….”
The name atom derives from atomos, meaning “uncuttable” a reflection of the Greek belief that all matter consists of an arrangement of few kinds of fundamental indivisible particles.
In the 19th century the atomic hypothesis developed into a powerful explanatory system, particularly with the work of Maxwell, Boltzmann, and Clausius. Some physicist took the atomic theory very seriously and assumed that atoms themselves are real, as Thomson – Lord Kelvin put it an atoms is”a piece of matter with shape, motion and laws of actions, intelligible subjects for scientific investigation..”
Various models were proposed for the atom including W. Thomson’s vortex rings in the
ether and J.Thomson’s “plum-pudding” model in which negative charges were embedded in a diffuse positive material. Two key discoveries led to the more familiar planetary model.
Model of the atom evolved through
– Rutherford’s nuclear atom
– Bohr’s quantised atom
– Schrodinger’s wawe-mechanical atom.
The electron (discovered in 1897.) was the first subatomic particle.It was discovered in a particle accelerator (Crooke’s tube).
The idea that nuclei might contain a neutral particle was considered by Rutherford in the early 1920s.Rutherford suggested many ways in which the neutron might be formed or detected including the idea that hydrogen atoms might collapse to neutrons as electrons fall into the nucleus, but the crucial obsevations that led to descovery of neutron were made by
– Walther Bothe and Herbert Becker in 1930 – they are noted that beryllium emits a very penetrating nuclear radiation when alpha particles are fired at it
and the
– Joliot – Curies in 1932. discovered that this radiation could eject protons from paraffin…

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