Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Are Atoms Mostly Empty?

The emptiness of the universe: This is the kind of stuff that the early pioneers of quantum mechanics believed in. In the 1920s, researchers thought that emptiness--an absence of stuff--is what quantum mechanics was talking about. Arthur Eddington"s "The Two Tables" is a really nice treatment of the subject. In this piece, Eddington essentially argues that there are two tables: First, there is the table of everyday experience. It is comparatively permanent, it is coloured, and (above all) it is substantial. Second, there is the table of science: it is mostly emptiness with numerous, sparsely-scattered electric charges rushing about with great speed.

Is this really the way of things? The is universe that we see and interact with made of a great emptiness? Find out at:


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