Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

We all round down to zero

Here's a little something to bake your noodle! How much of the volume of your body is actually made up of matter? As it turns out, almost none of it.

Since I know that most of you are as lazy as I am and don't click links often, I'll give you the lowdown. A hydrogen atom consists of one electron orbiting one proton. You've almost certainly seen diagrams of atoms, but they utterly fail to give the proper scale. They have to. If you zoomed in on a hydrogen atom to the point where the proton in the middle was about the size of a soccer ball, the electron orbiting it would be the size of one pixel on the display on which you're reading this.

The punchline? It would be orbiting the proton at a distance of 11 miles. That makes the hydrogen atom a sphere 22 miles across, with a soccer ball in the middle and a pixel on the edge, and nothing else. As the link states, we are all phantoms, and could barely be said to exist at all.

Another way of looking at it is like this: if we were crushed down to the density of a neutron star, you could cram the entire human race into the volume of a sugar cube.

Does this boggle anyone else's mind, or am I just easily impressed?


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 29th, 2006 04:27 pm (UTC)
"Which means that any people you may actually meet in your travels are merely the product of a deranged imagination." -- Douglas Adams
Jun. 29th, 2006 09:25 pm (UTC)
Jun. 30th, 2006 03:57 am (UTC)
Never been to the new Rose Center at the American Museum of Natural History (NYC), I take it? I think the relevant line was something like "if a proton were the size of the Hayden Planetarium, an electron would be a pin-head in Boston." (I could calculate the actual numbers since I don't remember, but I'm too lazy.) It's a very well done exhibit.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )