Atoms and their contents

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Atoms and their contents

Postby vivian maxine on October 16th, 2015, 3:42 pm 

I had a question. Before I ever got here with it, it suddenly grew into two questions. Here goes:

Back in the dark ages we learned that atoms consisted of electrons, protons and neutrons. We knew the latter two were in the nucleus but we didn't use that term much. Now I suddenly find everyone writing about atoms that they contain electrons and the nucleus. I seldom see "protons and neutrons" in a simple description of atoms.

My original question was simply "when and why" this change".

Then came last night and I read "...a grain of salt can be said to consist of salt molecules, the molecules of two kinds of atoms, these atoms to consist of nuclei and electrons, and the nuclei of protons and neutrons." (Fritjof Capra in "The Tao of Physics")

Now my question has grown to "two kinds of atoms? I don't think his statement clarifies that there are two kinds of atoms. Are there and what are they?

And, notice that he first described an atom as consisting of electrons and nuclei. After that he breaks down the nucleus.

Thank you for answering my two questions.
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Re: Atoms and their contents

Postby Dave_Oblad on October 16th, 2015, 7:22 pm 

Hi Viv,

A basic Atom has a Nucleus and Electron shell(s). The Nucleus has Protons and Neutrons. Both are further broken down into smaller particles such as Quarks etc. with defining characteristics such as spin.

What defines an Atom is the number of Protons and Neutrons in the Nucleus and the Number of Electron Shells. This is given in the Periodic Tables to identify each different type of Atom. The simplest Atom being the Hydrogen Atom.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Periodic_table

This link describes the variations in the sub-particles of all the Components.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_particles

Salt is (NaCl) or Sodium Atoms and Chlorine Atoms bound together into Sodium Chloride.. like Hydrogen and Oxygen Atoms bound together becomes Water.. or (H2O) or two Hydrogen Atoms bound to an Oxygen Atom. The binding together of more than one Atom produces what's called a Molecule. Some Molecules can be composed of many different types of Atoms and be quite complex.

Does this help?

Regards,
Dave :^)
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Re: Atoms and their contents

Postby bangstrom on October 17th, 2015, 12:58 am 

vivian maxine » October 16th, 2015, 2:42 pm wrote:
Back in the dark ages we learned that atoms consisted of electrons, protons and neutrons. We knew the latter two were in the nucleus but we didn't use that term much. Now I suddenly find everyone writing about atoms that they contain electrons and the nucleus. I seldom see "protons and neutrons" in a simple description of atoms.

My original question was simply "when and why" this change".
I never noticed the change or when it happened but I think you are right. I suspect writers mention the “nucleus” alone because it is simpler that way. It has become common knowledge that the nucleus contains protons and neutrons so there is no need mention them.

Richard Feynman gave a lecture to the engineers at Muscle Shoals during WWII and they were surprised to learn that an atomic nucleus contained neutrons and not just protons. The neutron was not well known at the time but now it goes without mention.

vivian maxine » October 16th, 2015, 2:42 pm wrote: Then came last night and I read "...a grain of salt can be said to consist of salt molecules, the molecules of two kinds of atoms, these atoms to consist of nuclei and electrons, and the nuclei of protons and neutrons." (Fritjof Capra in "The Tao of Physics")

Now my question has grown to "two kinds of atoms? I don't think his statement clarifies that there are two kinds of atoms. Are there and what are they?

I think Capra was simply saying that a molecule of salt contains “two kinds of atoms.” Sodium and chlorine. Good old NaCl.
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Re: Atoms and their contents

Postby vivian maxine on October 17th, 2015, 7:22 am 

Thank you, bangstrom. The first answer makes sense - just say nucleus because we know it ties up the proton and neutron. If those people at Muscle Shoals didn't know about the neutron - which surprises me - maybe they were just using "nucleus" as a synonym for "proton"? Just a thought. Anyway, I think you've hit the nail on the head. Nothing mysterious at all.

On the second, perhaps you are right but I read it that he is saying the molecule consists of two types of atoms. I'll re-read it a few times and see if my head straightens it out.

Thank you, Dave, also. Always good to learn more. I notice you say there are many different types of atoms. This I must follow up on. It ties in with my second question. I thought all atoms were the same, just combined differently.

Last night I was reading more and thinking how glad I am that I didn't have to study physics. :_)
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Re: Atoms and their contents

Postby vivian maxine on October 17th, 2015, 9:50 am 

Dave_Oblad » October 16th, 2015, 6:22 pm wrote:Hi Viv,



Salt is (NaCl) or Sodium Atoms and Chlorine Atoms bound together into Sodium Chloride.. like Hydrogen and Oxygen Atoms bound together becomes Water.. or (H2O) or two Hydrogen Atoms bound to an Oxygen Atom. The binding together of more than one Atom produces what's called a Molecule. Some Molecules can be composed of many different types of Atoms and be quite complex.

Does this help?

Regards,
Dave :^)


Aha! Dave, when you say "many different types of atoms", are you referring the fact that each is a different element? In other words, the difference is the count of protons, neutrons and electrons making hydrogen, iron, calcium, etc.? Is that what you meant?

Thanks.
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Re: Atoms and their contents

Postby Dave_Oblad on October 17th, 2015, 2:39 pm 

Hi Viv,

Exactly!

The Periodic Table is a list of the basic Elements (Atoms) arranged by # Protons/Neutrons and Electron Shells.

Regards,
Dave :^)
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Re: Atoms and their contents

Postby vivian maxine on October 17th, 2015, 2:50 pm 

Dave_Oblad » October 17th, 2015, 1:39 pm wrote:Hi Viv,

Exactly!

The Periodic Table is a list of the basic Elements (Atoms) arranged by # Protons/Neutrons and Electron Shells.

Regards,
Dave :^)


Thank you. I had your statement confused with Capra's statement that there are two kinds of atoms. It took a while to sort it out. Reading on, I think he is referring to the atoms where the neutrons change to protons and another electron is formed. There's more than that but he is getting to radioactivity and/or radiation - what is used in biology, medicine, etc. I love the humanities. :-)
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Re: Atoms and their contents

Postby bangstrom on October 18th, 2015, 2:55 am 

This an excerpt from Poul Anderson's essay "Uncleftish Beholding" (Atomic Theory) that explains the composition of atoms. It is written in a language called “Anglish” which is pure Germanic English with all the foreign words written as their Germanic equivalents for those who don't like their language corrupted by foreign words.

“Coming back to the uncleft itself, the heavier it is, the more
neitherbits as well as firstbits in its kernel. Indeed, soon the
tale of neitherbits is the greater. Unclefts with the same tale
of firstbits but unlike tales of neitherbits are called
*samesteads*. Thus, everyday sourstuff has eight neitherbits with
its eight firstbits, but there are also kinds with five, six,
seven, nine, ten, and eleven neitherbits. A samestead is known by
the tale of both kernel motes, so that we have sourstuff-13,
sourstuff-14, and so on, with sourstuff-16 being by far the most
found. Having the same number of bernstonebits, the samesteads of
a firststuff behave almost alike minglingly. They do show some
unlikenesses, outstandingly among the heavier ones, and these can
be worked to sunder samesteads from each other.”
Poul Anderson

uncleft- a-tom
neitherbits- neu-trons
firstbits- pro-tons
kernel- nucleus
tales- count
motes- particles
samesteads- iso-topes
sourstuff- oxygen
bernstonebits- bits of amber, electrons
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