How Awesome Are Electrons?
Yes it's that time again, two weeks have passed and I feel obliged to provide all Zero of my readers with article #3: This weeks subject is primarily electrons, because (lets face it) they kick ass!
Lets start with the basics, (I'll try to get through them as quickly as possible):-
An electron is a sub atomic particle with a negative charge. -
In an atom (relatively weightless*) electrons surround the dense nucleus (consisting of protons and neutrons). They don't just fly off primarily because they are attracted to the protons in the nucleus and don't just stick to it primarily because they are repelled by one another. There's more to this but I just want to get into why they're so cool.-
Electricity is a flow of electrons.-
The number of electrons in the universe is estimated to be at least 10^79 (or
00,000,000,000,000,000,000 in lamens terms) :-
One electron per cubic meter of space?**Quantum Physics Is Ace
Quantum Physics has shown that when you break matter into smaller and smaller pieces those pieces (such as electrons *wink, wink*) no longer hold the traits of objects.Electrons Are Ace
Most people imagine an electron as a wee ball whizzing around a nucleus, but thats not the case! Although electrons sometimes act like compact little particles they are impossible to measure!... They literally have NO Dimension At All!
"An electron simply isn't an object as we know it!"***More On How Electrons Are Ace
Another amazing thing about electrons is that they can manifest either as a particle OR a wave:
"If you shoot an ellectron at the screen of a television that's been turned off, a tiny point of light will appear when it strikes the phosphorescent chemicals that coat the glass. The single point of impact the electron leaves on the screen clearly reveals the particlelike side of its nature."****
However! An electron can also assume the form of a blurry cloud of energy, behaving like it was spread out over space. When an electron manifests as a wave it can do mad stuff that nothing else can, if fired at a barrier with two stils cut through it it can go through both slits at the same time!
Imagine there are two doors on the same wall of you hallway, one to your bedroom and one to your living room. If you were like an electron manifesting as a wave you could walk into both rooms at the same time! All Subatomic Particles And Waves Are Also Ace
This shapeshifting ability is common to ALL subatomic particles!
It is also true of all things previously thought to exist only as waves such as light, gamma rays, radio waves and X rays... they can all change from waves to particles and back again!
Things exhibiting this trait are called Quanta
and "physicists believe they are the basic stuff from which the universe is made."*****The Acest Thing Of All!
The most astonishing thing is that there is compelling evidence that the only time that quanta ever manifest as particles is when they are being observed.
This is crazy amazing, like having a bowling ball that is only a bowling ball when you look at it and turns into a wave as soon as you look away.
How awesome are electrons?Antony Sammeroff 10/09/2005
Notes And Sources:
* Incase you were wondering it takes about 1836 electrons to make up the weight of a proton or neutron, thats why the weight is considered "negligible."
** Based on the "classical electron radius" (or "compton radius"), a concept outdated by quantum mechanics, it can be calculated that 10^130 electrons could fit in the observable universe (that being the theoretical distance from around the earth that light has had time to travel here since the creation of the universe, estimated at 78 billion light years, although the edge of the cosmic light horizon is only 13.7 billion light years distant.)
*** Michael Talbot, "The Holographic Universe," p.33
***** Ibid, p.34