Posted on 10/02/2013

Photo taken on October  1, 2013

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Page 85
The Discoveries
Alan Lightman

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Photo replaced on October  2, 2013
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Size of a carbon atom

Size of a carbon atom
At the time that Rutherford en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Rutherford moved to Manchester, the inside of the atom was only poorly understood. The overall masses and sizes of atoms, however, had been known fairly well since the late nineteenth century. An atom of carbon, for example, has a mass of about 2 X 10 Power of 23 grams and a radius of about 10 to the power of 8 centimeters. In slightly more familiar terms, it requires about a hundred thousand billion billion atoms of carbon, back to back to stretch the width of a penny. It is astounding that scientists were able to determine the size and masses of objects so much smaller than anything that could be seen with a microscope. Indeed, even to believe in the existence of the invisible world of the atoms required faith in scientific reason. ~ Page 85