How Big is an Atom?

  • If you made a tower of ten million atoms… it would only be as high as a grain of sand.
  • Picture a walnut sitting in the palm of your hand…if the walnut was an atom then your hand would have to be the size of the Earth.
  • Look at yourself…seven octillion atoms [7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000] make your body.

Atoms are held together by electromagnetic force and they are mostly empty inside. You are made of atoms, so you are mostly empty space too. If you took away the space from everyone’s atoms you could fit the entire human race into a small Lego brick.
Atoms have smaller particles inside them. There’s a nucleus in the centre with a cloud of charged electrons around it.  Look deeper inside and you’ll find even smaller particles with names such as gluons and muons, strange quarks and charm quarks. We live in a vast universe, but the universe is also inside us.

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Photo: atoms of gold

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