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The Sailor

Quantum Physics

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Can someone explain in laymans terms, why there is solid matter when according to a TV show I saw, which did not explain it, that the building blocks of all matter, Atoms, are composed of a very small nucleus, and even smaller protons and the remaining part 90% of the atom is NOTHING. This on the surface, to a novice like me, would appear, based on common sense, to completely discredit quantum threoy.

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First, a little correction: The atom consits of a nucleus and electrons. The nucleus is made up of protons and neutrons.

It is true that the particles involved are very small compared to the space occupied by the atom, but the since the space is truly occupied by the atom, making it impossible for any other atom to be there, in effect you have solid matter.

As an analogy, you might think of a number of guards positioned along a property line. Each of the guards is responsible for stopping any intruders within a 50-yard radius of his assigned position. So, if you place the guards 100 yards apart, you will have an impenetrable border, even though each of the guards is only a couple of feet wide at most.

Oh, and one more correction:

the remaining part 90% of the atom is NOTHING.

The remaining 99.X% of the atom's volume is EMPTY. There is a difference between "empty space" and "nothing" ; see the discussion in this thread.

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Can someone explain in laymans terms, why there is solid matter when according to a TV show I saw, which did not explain it, that the building blocks of all matter, Atoms, are composed of a very small nucleus, and even smaller protons and the remaining part 90% of the atom is NOTHING.  This on the surface, to a novice like me, would appear, based on common sense, to completely discredit quantum threoy.

I can give you a very simplified overview which might help you understand what is going on.

In the standard atomic theory all of the different forces are mediated by particles known as bosons, each force having its own specialized boson. The nucleus of an atom is composed of protons and neutrons, and these protons possess a positive electrical charge. To bind the nucleus together a very large force acts to maintain structure against the positive charges. This force is known as the strong force, or the strong interaction, and the boson particle which mediates this force is called a gluon.

The electrons surrounding the nucleus are constrained by electromagnetic interactions. This force is known as the electomagnetic force and the boson which mediates the force is called a photon. There is a continual interaction between the electrons and the atomic nucleus, via the exchange of photons.

Aggregates of atoms form larger molecular structures, and the various bonding mechanisms in molecules rely primarily upon electric forces. Solids are then formed formed from various combinations of molecules, each combination providing unique properties which help define the solid.

The large spaces between particles is certainly not empty, at least not in the literal sense of meaning 'nothing' is there. What that space consists of is at the foundation of differing theories.

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:P Thanks for your answers, makes sense now. of couse most thanks to capitalism, sorry stephen, your answer shot over my head like a stray electron, I'm sure it is correct, just didn't understand. I'm not a college graduate, so you got into a little deeper detail then I needed.

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:angry:  Thanks for your answers, makes sense now.  of couse most thanks to capitalism, sorry stephen, your answer shot over my head like a stray electron, I'm sure it is correct, just didn't understand.  I'm not a college graduate, so you got into a little deeper detail then I needed.

I strive, but I guess I cannot win them all. :D

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