full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Jon Bergmann: Just how small is an atom?

Unscramble the Blue Letters

You probably already know everything is made up of little tiny things claeld atoms or even that each atom is made up of even smaller particles called protons, neutrons and electrons. And you've probably heard that atoms are small. But I bet you haven't ever thought about how small atoms really are. Well, the answer is that they are really, really small. So you ask, just how small are atoms? To uatnserdnd this, let's ask this question: How many atoms are in a grapefruit? Well, let's aussme that the grapefruit is made up of only nitrogen atoms, which isn't at all true, but there are nigreotn atoms in a grapefruit. To help you visualize this, let's blow up each of the aotms to the size of a blueberry. And then how big would the graefriupt have to be? It would have to be the same size of — well, actually, the etrah. That's crazy! You mean to say that if I filled the Earth with bluerebires, I would have the same nbuemr of nitrogen atoms as a grapefruit? That's right! So how big is the atom? Well, it's really, really small! And you know what? It gets even more crazy. Let's now look inside of each atom — and thus the blueberry, right? — What do you see there? In the center of the atom is something called the nucleus, which contains protons and neutrons, and on the outside, you'd see electrons. So how big is the nucleus? If atoms are like blueberries in the Earth, how big would the nucleus be? You might remember the old pictures of the atom from science class, where you saw this tiny dot on the page with an arrow pointing to the nucleus. Well, those pictures, they're not drawn to scale, so they're kind of wrong. So how big is the nucleus? So if you popped open the brerebuly and were searching for the nucleus ... You know what? It would be invisible. It's too small to see! OK. Let's blow up the atom — the blueberry — to the size of a house. So imagine a ball that is as tall as a two-story hsoue. Let's look for the nucleus in the center of the atom. And do you know what? It would just blarey be visible. So to get our minds wrapped around how big the nucleus is, we need to blow up the blueberry, up to the size of a football stadium. So imagine a ball the size of a ftloaobl stadium, and right smack dab in the center of the atom, you would find the nucleus, and you could see it! And it would be the size of a small marble. And there's more, if I haven't bolwn your mind by now. Let's consider the atom some more. It contains protons, neutrons and electrons. The protons and ntonerus live inside of the nucleus, and contain almost all of the mass of the atom. Way on the edge are the electrons. So if an atom is like a ball the size of a football stadium, with the nucleus in the ceentr, and the electrons on the edge, what is in between the nucleus and the electrons? sirlnsrupgiy, the answer is empty space. (Wind noise) That's right. Empty! Between the nucleus and the etlcneros, there are vast regions of empty sacpe. Now, technically there are some electromagnetic fleids, but in terms of sutff, mtetar, it is empty. rembemer this vast region of empty space is inside the blueberry, which is inside the Earth, which really are the atoms in the grapefruit. OK, one more thing, if I can even get more bizarre. Since virtually all the mass of an atom is in the nucleus — now, there is some amount of mass in the electrons, but most of it is in the nucleus — how dense is the nucleus? Well, the asnwer is crazy. The density of a typical neulucs is four tmeis 10 to the 17th kilograms per meter cubed. But that's hard to visualize. OK, I'll put it in English units. 2.5 times 10 to the 16th pounds per cubic feet. OK, that's still kind of hard to figure. OK, here's what I want you to do. Make a box that is one foot by one foot by one foot. Now let's go and grab all of the nuclei from a typical car. Now, cars on agveare weigh two tons. How many cars' ncueli would you have to put into the box to have your one-foot-box have the same density of the nucleus? Is it one car? Two? How about 100? Nope, nope and nope. The answer is much begigr. It is 6.2 billion. That is almost equal to the number of poelpe in the Earth. So if everyone in the Earth owned their own car — and they don't — (Cars hnnkoig) and we put all of those cars into your box ... That would be about the destniy of a nucleus. So I'm saying that if you took every car in the world and put it into your one-foot box, you would have the density of one nucleus. OK, let's review. The atom is really, really, really small. Think atoms in a grapefruit like blueberries in the Earth. The nucleus is crazy smlal. Now look inside the blueberry, and blow it up to the size of a football stadium, and now the nucleus is a mrlbae in the mdidle. The atom is made up of vast regions of empty space. That's wired. The nucleus has a crazy-high density. Think of putting all those cars in your one-foot box. I think I'm tired.

Open Cloze

You probably already know everything is made up of little tiny things ______ atoms or even that each atom is made up of even smaller particles called protons, neutrons and electrons. And you've probably heard that atoms are small. But I bet you haven't ever thought about how small atoms really are. Well, the answer is that they are really, really small. So you ask, just how small are atoms? To __________ this, let's ask this question: How many atoms are in a grapefruit? Well, let's ______ that the grapefruit is made up of only nitrogen atoms, which isn't at all true, but there are ________ atoms in a grapefruit. To help you visualize this, let's blow up each of the _____ to the size of a blueberry. And then how big would the __________ have to be? It would have to be the same size of — well, actually, the _____. That's crazy! You mean to say that if I filled the Earth with ___________, I would have the same ______ of nitrogen atoms as a grapefruit? That's right! So how big is the atom? Well, it's really, really small! And you know what? It gets even more crazy. Let's now look inside of each atom — and thus the blueberry, right? — What do you see there? In the center of the atom is something called the nucleus, which contains protons and neutrons, and on the outside, you'd see electrons. So how big is the nucleus? If atoms are like blueberries in the Earth, how big would the nucleus be? You might remember the old pictures of the atom from science class, where you saw this tiny dot on the page with an arrow pointing to the nucleus. Well, those pictures, they're not drawn to scale, so they're kind of wrong. So how big is the nucleus? So if you popped open the _________ and were searching for the nucleus ... You know what? It would be invisible. It's too small to see! OK. Let's blow up the atom — the blueberry — to the size of a house. So imagine a ball that is as tall as a two-story _____. Let's look for the nucleus in the center of the atom. And do you know what? It would just ______ be visible. So to get our minds wrapped around how big the nucleus is, we need to blow up the blueberry, up to the size of a football stadium. So imagine a ball the size of a ________ stadium, and right smack dab in the center of the atom, you would find the nucleus, and you could see it! And it would be the size of a small marble. And there's more, if I haven't _____ your mind by now. Let's consider the atom some more. It contains protons, neutrons and electrons. The protons and ________ live inside of the nucleus, and contain almost all of the mass of the atom. Way on the edge are the electrons. So if an atom is like a ball the size of a football stadium, with the nucleus in the ______, and the electrons on the edge, what is in between the nucleus and the electrons? ____________, the answer is empty space. (Wind noise) That's right. Empty! Between the nucleus and the _________, there are vast regions of empty _____. Now, technically there are some electromagnetic ______, but in terms of _____, ______, it is empty. ________ this vast region of empty space is inside the blueberry, which is inside the Earth, which really are the atoms in the grapefruit. OK, one more thing, if I can even get more bizarre. Since virtually all the mass of an atom is in the nucleus — now, there is some amount of mass in the electrons, but most of it is in the nucleus — how dense is the nucleus? Well, the ______ is crazy. The density of a typical _______ is four _____ 10 to the 17th kilograms per meter cubed. But that's hard to visualize. OK, I'll put it in English units. 2.5 times 10 to the 16th pounds per cubic feet. OK, that's still kind of hard to figure. OK, here's what I want you to do. Make a box that is one foot by one foot by one foot. Now let's go and grab all of the nuclei from a typical car. Now, cars on _______ weigh two tons. How many cars' ______ would you have to put into the box to have your one-foot-box have the same density of the nucleus? Is it one car? Two? How about 100? Nope, nope and nope. The answer is much ______. It is 6.2 billion. That is almost equal to the number of ______ in the Earth. So if everyone in the Earth owned their own car — and they don't — (Cars _______) and we put all of those cars into your box ... That would be about the _______ of a nucleus. So I'm saying that if you took every car in the world and put it into your one-foot box, you would have the density of one nucleus. OK, let's review. The atom is really, really, really small. Think atoms in a grapefruit like blueberries in the Earth. The nucleus is crazy _____. Now look inside the blueberry, and blow it up to the size of a football stadium, and now the nucleus is a ______ in the ______. The atom is made up of vast regions of empty space. That's _____. The nucleus has a crazy-high density. Think of putting all those cars in your one-foot box. I think I'm tired.

Solution

  1. stuff
  2. density
  3. remember
  4. matter
  5. fields
  6. bigger
  7. house
  8. barely
  9. blueberries
  10. assume
  11. middle
  12. honking
  13. blown
  14. nitrogen
  15. times
  16. earth
  17. nuclei
  18. marble
  19. average
  20. space
  21. small
  22. neutrons
  23. football
  24. atoms
  25. called
  26. center
  27. weird
  28. answer
  29. electrons
  30. people
  31. surprisingly
  32. understand
  33. blueberry
  34. number
  35. grapefruit
  36. nucleus

Original Text

You probably already know everything is made up of little tiny things called atoms or even that each atom is made up of even smaller particles called protons, neutrons and electrons. And you've probably heard that atoms are small. But I bet you haven't ever thought about how small atoms really are. Well, the answer is that they are really, really small. So you ask, just how small are atoms? To understand this, let's ask this question: How many atoms are in a grapefruit? Well, let's assume that the grapefruit is made up of only nitrogen atoms, which isn't at all true, but there are nitrogen atoms in a grapefruit. To help you visualize this, let's blow up each of the atoms to the size of a blueberry. And then how big would the grapefruit have to be? It would have to be the same size of — well, actually, the Earth. That's crazy! You mean to say that if I filled the Earth with blueberries, I would have the same number of nitrogen atoms as a grapefruit? That's right! So how big is the atom? Well, it's really, really small! And you know what? It gets even more crazy. Let's now look inside of each atom — and thus the blueberry, right? — What do you see there? In the center of the atom is something called the nucleus, which contains protons and neutrons, and on the outside, you'd see electrons. So how big is the nucleus? If atoms are like blueberries in the Earth, how big would the nucleus be? You might remember the old pictures of the atom from science class, where you saw this tiny dot on the page with an arrow pointing to the nucleus. Well, those pictures, they're not drawn to scale, so they're kind of wrong. So how big is the nucleus? So if you popped open the blueberry and were searching for the nucleus ... You know what? It would be invisible. It's too small to see! OK. Let's blow up the atom — the blueberry — to the size of a house. So imagine a ball that is as tall as a two-story house. Let's look for the nucleus in the center of the atom. And do you know what? It would just barely be visible. So to get our minds wrapped around how big the nucleus is, we need to blow up the blueberry, up to the size of a football stadium. So imagine a ball the size of a football stadium, and right smack dab in the center of the atom, you would find the nucleus, and you could see it! And it would be the size of a small marble. And there's more, if I haven't blown your mind by now. Let's consider the atom some more. It contains protons, neutrons and electrons. The protons and neutrons live inside of the nucleus, and contain almost all of the mass of the atom. Way on the edge are the electrons. So if an atom is like a ball the size of a football stadium, with the nucleus in the center, and the electrons on the edge, what is in between the nucleus and the electrons? Surprisingly, the answer is empty space. (Wind noise) That's right. Empty! Between the nucleus and the electrons, there are vast regions of empty space. Now, technically there are some electromagnetic fields, but in terms of stuff, matter, it is empty. Remember this vast region of empty space is inside the blueberry, which is inside the Earth, which really are the atoms in the grapefruit. OK, one more thing, if I can even get more bizarre. Since virtually all the mass of an atom is in the nucleus — now, there is some amount of mass in the electrons, but most of it is in the nucleus — how dense is the nucleus? Well, the answer is crazy. The density of a typical nucleus is four times 10 to the 17th kilograms per meter cubed. But that's hard to visualize. OK, I'll put it in English units. 2.5 times 10 to the 16th pounds per cubic feet. OK, that's still kind of hard to figure. OK, here's what I want you to do. Make a box that is one foot by one foot by one foot. Now let's go and grab all of the nuclei from a typical car. Now, cars on average weigh two tons. How many cars' nuclei would you have to put into the box to have your one-foot-box have the same density of the nucleus? Is it one car? Two? How about 100? Nope, nope and nope. The answer is much bigger. It is 6.2 billion. That is almost equal to the number of people in the Earth. So if everyone in the Earth owned their own car — and they don't — (Cars honking) and we put all of those cars into your box ... That would be about the density of a nucleus. So I'm saying that if you took every car in the world and put it into your one-foot box, you would have the density of one nucleus. OK, let's review. The atom is really, really, really small. Think atoms in a grapefruit like blueberries in the Earth. The nucleus is crazy small. Now look inside the blueberry, and blow it up to the size of a football stadium, and now the nucleus is a marble in the middle. The atom is made up of vast regions of empty space. That's weird. The nucleus has a crazy-high density. Think of putting all those cars in your one-foot box. I think I'm tired.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
empty space 4
nitrogen atoms 2
vast regions 2

Important Words

  1. amount
  2. answer
  3. arrow
  4. assume
  5. atom
  6. atoms
  7. average
  8. ball
  9. barely
  10. bet
  11. big
  12. bigger
  13. billion
  14. bizarre
  15. blow
  16. blown
  17. blueberries
  18. blueberry
  19. box
  20. called
  21. car
  22. cars
  23. center
  24. class
  25. crazy
  26. cubed
  27. cubic
  28. dab
  29. dense
  30. density
  31. dot
  32. drawn
  33. earth
  34. edge
  35. electromagnetic
  36. electrons
  37. empty
  38. english
  39. equal
  40. feet
  41. fields
  42. figure
  43. filled
  44. find
  45. foot
  46. football
  47. grab
  48. grapefruit
  49. hard
  50. heard
  51. honking
  52. house
  53. imagine
  54. invisible
  55. kilograms
  56. kind
  57. live
  58. marble
  59. mass
  60. matter
  61. meter
  62. middle
  63. mind
  64. minds
  65. neutrons
  66. nitrogen
  67. noise
  68. nope
  69. nuclei
  70. nucleus
  71. number
  72. open
  73. owned
  74. page
  75. particles
  76. people
  77. pictures
  78. pointing
  79. popped
  80. pounds
  81. protons
  82. put
  83. putting
  84. region
  85. regions
  86. remember
  87. review
  88. scale
  89. science
  90. searching
  91. size
  92. smack
  93. small
  94. smaller
  95. space
  96. stadium
  97. stuff
  98. surprisingly
  99. tall
  100. technically
  101. terms
  102. thought
  103. times
  104. tiny
  105. tired
  106. tons
  107. true
  108. typical
  109. understand
  110. units
  111. vast
  112. virtually
  113. visible
  114. visualize
  115. weigh
  116. weird
  117. wind
  118. world
  119. wrapped
  120. wrong