Friday, July 8, 2011

Strangest Facts of Physics: We Are Empty

Let me ask you a question. Have you ever really thought about our universe? Have you ever asked yourself how did our universe start? Or how about what is time? Or even is there something more in our universe besides the matter and energy that we can measure?

If you did, and even tried to look for the answers, I bet the conclusion that you made about the universe is that it's very strange...

There's a saying that reality is stranger than fiction. I agree with it 100%, as I've never heard, read or seen something, that was more amazing and jaw dropping, as the mysterious facts about our universe. So let's check out some of the strangest facts of physics.

Let's start by a simple, yet fascinating fact: a human body is made of 99.9999999999999 % empty space. The atoms that make our bodies, as well as everything around you, are made mostly of empty space.

So how come, do we see all the matter around us and not only empty space? And let's make a step further: how come we can't walk through walls? The answer to these questions is that atoms are not all there is. Every atom is made up of smaller particles - protons, neutrons and electrons. Protons and neutrons make up the nucleus of an atom, where's electrons are attracted to the nucleus with an electromagnetic force. This electromagnetic force (transmitted by particles of light called photons), can be both attractive and repulsive. This electromagnetic force is what causes the repulsion of the atoms, when many of them are put close together. That's exactly why we can't go through walls, as the atoms of the walls push away the atoms in our body.

Composition of an atom:

Also, atoms can reflect and absorb light. We actually see objects, when a light ray reaches an object and reflects from it to our eyes. Naturally light can only reflect from atoms and not from empty space, thus we can't see empty space. Also there are billions of billions of atoms literally everywhere, as well as billions of billions photons bouncing of them. All of this light makes up the illusion that all objects around us are made of continuous matter.

Photon radiated  from an atom:


When you really think about it, it's really bizarre. I mean, what we see around us is only an illusion. I guess the universe is really more than meets the eye.

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Anonymous said...

This is deceptive because of scale. Atomic scale is a whole lot different from the everyday 'us.' Say you were to encounter a being from a world that had a gaseous heliosphere thousands of times heavier than ours. Now there is a scale---we would be so infinitesimally coherent as to be almost invisible next to our massive neighbor. We could not shake his hand nor he ours. The gas pressure envelope controls all.

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