Brain Makeover #4: Atoms (by the 76ers Cheerleaders)

All Matter is Made of Atoms

Professor James Trefil (author of Science Matters, Why Science?, and 30 other books on science literacy) identified 18 key science concepts every adult should know to be a science literate. We’re here to reintroduce adults to science, in a fun way! It’s all part of our Brain Makeover project to increase adult science literacy. Here’s concept #4, presented by 76ers Cheerleader Lauren and explained by Professor James Trefil.  We’ll post one each week (more or less) and it to the Brain Makeover collection.

#4. All matter is made of atoms.

As the science of chemistry developed in the eighteenth century, it became clear that there are two kinds of  materials in the world: there are materials that can be broken down by chemical means (think of wood burning) and those that cannot. The latter class of materials are called ‘elements’. In the early nineteenth century, it was proposed that to each of these elements, there is a small structure called an atom (the term was borrowed from classical Greek philosophy), and that all the other materials are made by combining atoms.

In the early twentieth century, experiments showed that the atom has a definite structure. In the center is a small, massive, positively charged nucleus, which the electrons circle in orbits. The development of the science of quantum mechanics further showed that electrons can change orbits in the atom, absorbing light when they move away from the nucleus, emitting it when they move in the opposite direction.

  • http://bartacus.blogspot.com Bart L

    Dar:

    I hope you plan to have a posting with links to all of these when you’re through.

    Oh! And thanks for adding the search feature. Mucho apreciado!

    /b

  • http://bartacus.blogspot.com Bart L

    Dar:

    I hope you plan to have a posting with links to all of these when you’re through.

    Oh! And thanks for adding the search feature. Mucho apreciado!

    /b

  • Pingback: Science experiment:Homemade hydrogen fuel | Electric Cars in Ireland

  • cool

    i was hoping to know which scientist did express this idea that “All matter is made of atoms”.

  • cool

    i was hoping to know which scientist did express this idea that “All matter is made of atoms”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ianmathwiz7 Ian Nelson Linnell

    Antoine Lavoisier, Joseph Louis Proust, and John Dalton first discovered the laws of conservation of mass, simple proportions, and multiple proportions, respectively, which led to the hypothesis that matter was made of atoms. Dalton first made this conjecture, Amedeo Avogadro corrected it, Ludwig Boltzman noticed that many laws such as the ideal gas law and the second law of thermodynamics were all emergent properties of atoms colliding and statistically obeying Newton's laws, and Einstein could count the number of atoms in a gram of hydrogen by observing its Brownian motion. It was the founders of quantum mechanics, Bohr, Rutherford, etc. that gave us conclusive evidence and the structure of an atom.

    However, atomism goes back to the greek philosophers Leucippus and Democratus (the first materialists), who used atomism to reconcile the Eleatic and Heraclitean schools of philosophy. Epicurus furthered the idea by saying the atoms were indeterministic (similar to quantum mechanics) and Plato claimed that the atoms were not fundamental (subatomic particles?). However, Aristotle's idea that matter was continuous prevailed, and became the Christian Church's doctrine for thousands of years, and any atomistic or materialistic voices were suppressed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ianmathwiz7 Ian Nelson Linnell

    Antoine Lavoisier, Joseph Louis Proust, and John Dalton first discovered the laws of conservation of mass, simple proportions, and multiple proportions, respectively, which led to the hypothesis that matter was made of atoms. Dalton first made this conjecture, Amedeo Avogadro corrected it, Ludwig Boltzman noticed that many laws such as the ideal gas law and the second law of thermodynamics were all emergent properties of atoms colliding and statistically obeying Newton’s laws, and Einstein could count the number of atoms in a gram of hydrogen by observing its Brownian motion. It was the founders of quantum mechanics, Bohr, Rutherford, etc. that gave us conclusive evidence and the structure of an atom.

    However, atomism goes back to the greek philosophers Leucippus and Democratus (the first materialists), who used atomism to reconcile the Eleatic and Heraclitean schools of philosophy. Epicurus furthered the idea by saying the atoms were indeterministic (similar to quantum mechanics) and Plato claimed that the atoms were not fundamental (subatomic particles?). However, Aristotle’s idea that matter was continuous prevailed, and became the Christian Church’s doctrine for thousands of years, and any atomistic or materialistic voices were suppressed.

  • http://www.bigponypoloshirts.co ralph lauren big pony

    thx
    your sharing ,i learn a lot form it

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