Wednesday, 4 January 2012


Welcome. I mean to start the new year as I left the old one, by continuing my study of history. Do join me.

Let us take a moment to compare our knowledge, or perhaps I should say, our ignorance of atomic theory.

I would guess that like me, you are aware that matter, i.e. everything which we and our surroundings are made of is composed of atoms flying around in a space. These atoms are in turn are made up of a nucleus comprised of protons and neutrons and this nucleus is surrounded by a cloud of electrons. I would also guess that like me, that is about all you know.

Clever scientists have discovered these things using very expensive machines over the last 150 years or so and have shared their findings with the world. Given this, when do you suppose this quote was first spoken?

Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion.

I am currently engaged in studying history as I mentioned and have discovered that these words were spoken by Democritus, a Greek philosopher, who lived between 460 and 370 B.C. This was when he first formulated his theory that everything was made up of atoms (from the Greek word 'atomos' which means indivisible).

I find it astonishing that someone could have conceived the idea of atoms that long ago. It is perhaps even more amazing that it was then over 2000 years before anyone picked up on the idea and developed it.

We can only hope that as far as knowledge is concerned, mankind now makes up for lost time - better late than never.

1 comment:

  1. Heisenberg was uncertain about something LOL