Quotes About Atoms

Quotes tagged as "atoms" (showing 1-30 of 42)
Carl Sagan
“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”
Carl Sagan, Cosmos

Neil deGrasse Tyson
“The knowledge that the atoms that comprise life on earth - the atoms that make up the human body, are traceable to the crucibles that cooked light elements into heavy elements in their core under extreme temperatures and pressures. These stars- the high mass ones among them- went unstable in their later years- they collapsed and then exploded- scattering their enriched guts across the galaxy- guts made of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and all the fundamental ingredients of life itself. These ingredients become part of gas clouds that condense, collapse, form the next generation of solar systems- stars with orbiting planets. And those planets now have the ingredients for life itself. So that when I look up at the night sky, and I know that yes we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up- many people feel small, cause their small and the universe is big. But I feel big because my atoms came from those stars.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson

Carl Sagan
“The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together.”
Carl Sagan, Cosmos

Bill Bryson
“Protons give an atom its identity, electrons its personality.”
Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything

Neil deGrasse Tyson
“The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson

Terry Pratchett
“After a while the Senior Wrangler said, "Do you know, I read the other day that every atom in your body is changed every seven years? New ones keep getting attached and old ones keep on dropping off. It goes on all the time. Marvelous, really."

The Senior Wrangler could do to a conversation what it takes quite thick treacle to do to the pedals of a precision watch.

"Yes? What happens to the old ones?" said Ridcully, interested despite himself.

"Dunno. They just float around in the air, I suppose, until they get attached to someone else."

The Archchancellor looked affronted.

"What, even wizards?"

"Oh, yes. Everyone. It's part of the miracle of existence."

"Is it? Sounds like bad hygiene to me," said the Archchancellor. "I suppose there's no way of stopping it?"

"I shouldn't think so," said the Senior Wrangler, doubtfully. "I don't think you're supposed to stop miracles of existence."

"But that means everythin' is made up of everythin' else," said Ridcully.

"Yes. Isn't it amazing?”
Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man

John Gribbin
“In the world of the very small, where particle and wave aspects of reality are equally significant, things do not behave in any way that we can understand from our experience of the everyday world...all pictures are false, and there is no physical analogy we can make to understand what goes on inside atoms. Atoms behave like atoms, nothing else.”
John Gribbin, In Search of Schrödinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality

Ernest Rutherford
“It was quite the most incredible event that has ever happened to me in my life. It was almost as incredible as if you fired a 15-inch shell at a piece of tissue paper and it came back and hit you.

[Recalling in 1936 the discovery of the nucleus in 1909, when some alpha particles were observed instead of travelling through a very thin gold foil were seen to rebound backward, as if striking something much more massive than the particles themselves. He won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this discovery.]”
Ernest Rutherford

George Gamow
“It took less than an hour to make the atoms, a few hundred million years to make the stars and planets, but five billion years to make man!”
George Gamow, The Creation of the Universe

“The void is 'not-being,' and no part of 'what is' is a 'not-being,'; for what 'is' in the strict sense of the term is an absolute plenum. This plenum, however, is not 'one': on the contrary, it is a 'many' infinite in number and invisible owing to the minuteness of their bulk.”

“The supply of matter in the universe was never more tightly packed than it is now, or more widely spread out. For nothing is ever added to it or subtracted from it. It follows that the movement of atoms today is no different from what it was in bygone ages and always will be. So the things that have regularly come into being will continue to come into being in the same manner; they will be and grow and flourish so far as each is allowed by the laws of nature.”
Lucretius, On the Nature of Things

C. JoyBell C.
“This world and everything in it is only temporary; eternity is out there, we swim in it. And within our temporary bodies we carry inside of us eternity. There are but atoms separating us from the everlasting. Merely atoms.”
C. JoyBell C.

Henri Poincaré
“Consider now the Milky Way. Here also we see an innumerable dust, only the grains of this dust are no longer atoms but stars; these grains also move with great velocities, they act at a distance one upon another, but this action is so slight at great distances that their trajectories are rectilineal; nevertheless, from time to time, two of them may come near enough together to be deviated from their course, like a comet that passed too close to Jupiter. In a word, in the eyes of a giant, to whom our Suns were what our atoms are to us, the Milky Way would only look like a bubble of gas.”
Henri Poincaré, Science and Method

Jostein Gaarder
“When we sense something, it is due to the movement of atoms in space. When I see the moon it is because "moon atoms" penetrate my eye.”
Jostein Gaarder, Sophie's World

Henry Edward Armstrong
“[Professor] Bragg [asserts that] In sodium chloride there appear to be no molecules represented by NaCl. The equality in number of sodium and chlorine atoms is arrived at by a chess-board pattern of these atoms; it is a result of geometry and not of a pairing-off of the atoms.”
Henry Edward Armstrong

“If we assume that the last breath of, say, Julius Caesar has by now become thoroughly scattered through the atmosphere, then the chances are that each of us inhales one molecule of it with every breath we take.”
James Hopwood Jeans, An Introduction To The Kinetic Theory Of Gases

Richard Rhodes
“The landed classes neglected technical education, taking refuge in classical studies; as late as 1930, for example, long after Ernest Rutherford at Cambridge had discovered the atomic nucleus and begun transmuting elements, the physics laboratory at Oxford had not been wired for electricity. Intellectual neglect technical education to this day.

[Describing C.P. Snow's observations on the neglect of technical education.]”
Richard Rhodes, Visions of Technology: A Century of Vital Debate About Machines Systems and the Human World

Robert Boyle
Epicurus... supposes not only all mixt bodies, but all others to be produced by the various and casual occursions of atoms, moving themselves to and fro by an internal principle in the immense or rather infinite vacuum.”
Robert Boyle, The Sceptical Chymist

Michael Pollan
“Originally, the atoms of carbon from which we’re made were floating in the air, part of a carbon dioxide molecule. The only way to recruit these carbon atoms for the molecules necessary to support life—the carbohydrates, amino acids, proteins, and lipids—is by means of photosynthesis. Using sunlight as a catalyst the green cells of plants combine carbon atoms taken from the air with water and elements drawn from the soil to form the simple organic compounds that stand at the base of every food chain. It is more than a figure of speech to say that plants create life out of thin air.”
Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

“Atoms are round balls of wood invented by Dr. Dalton.

(Answer given by a pupil to a question on atomic theory, as reported by Sir Henry Enfield Roscoe.)”
Henry Enfield Roscoe

Auguste Laurent
“The chemists who uphold dualism are far from being agreed among themselves; nevertheless, all of them in maintaining their opinion, rely upon the phenomena of chemical reactions. For a long time the uncertainty of this method has been pointed out: it has been shown repeatedly, that the atoms put into movement during a reaction take at that time a new arrangement, and that it is impossible to deduce the old arrangement from the new one. It is as if, in the middle of a game of chess, after the disarrangement of all the pieces, one of the players should wish, from the inspection of the new place occupied by each piece, to determine that which it originally occupied.”
Auguste Laurent, Chemical Method, Notation, Classification, & Nomenclaturi

“Whoso meditates on the Omniscient, the Ancient, more minute than the atom, yet the Ruler and Upholder of all, Unimaginable, Brilliant like the Sun, beyond the reach of darkness.”
Shri Purohit Swami, Bhagavad Gita: Annotated & Explained

Wilhelm Körner
“The dogma of the impossibility of determining the atomic constitution of substances, which until recently was advocated with such fervor by the most able chemists, is beginning to be abandoned and forgotten; and one can predict that the day is not far in the future when a sufficient collection of facts will permit determination of the internal architecture of molecules. A series of experiments directed toward such a goal is the object of this paper.”
Wilhelm Körner

Marcus Chown
“It was like bouncing tennis balls off a mystery piece of furniture and deducing, from the direction in which the balls ricocheted, whether it was a chair or a table or a Welsh dresser.”
Marcus Chown, We Need to Talk about Kelvin: What Everyday Things Tell Us about the Universe

August Kekulé
“During my stay in London I resided for a considerable time in Clapham Road in the neighbourhood of Clapham Common... One fine summer evening I was returning by the last bus 'outside' as usual, through the deserted streets of the city, which are at other times so full of life. I fell into a reverie (Träumerei), and 10, the atoms were gambolling before my eyes! Whenever, hitherto, these diminutive beings had appeared to me, they had always been in motion: but up to that time I had never been able to discern the nature of their motion. Now, however, I saw how, frequently, two smaller atoms united to form a pair: how the larger one embraced the two smaller ones: how still larger ones kept hold of three or even four of the smaller: whilst the whole kept whirling in a giddy dance. I saw how the larger ones formed a chain, dragging the smaller ones after them but only at the ends of the chain. I saw what our past master, Kopp, my highly honoured teacher and friend has depicted with such charm in his Molekular-Welt: but I saw it long before him. The cry of the conductor 'Clapham Road', awakened me from my dreaming: but I spent part of the night in putting on paper at least sketches of these dream forms. This was the origin of the 'Structural Theory'.”
August Kekulé

“After the discovery of spectral analysis no one trained in physics could doubt the problem of the atom would be solved when physicists had learned to understand the language of spectra. So manifold was the enormous amount of material that has been accumulated in sixty years of spectroscopic research that it seemed at first beyond the possibility of disentanglement. An almost greater enlightenment has resulted from the seven years of Röntgen spectroscopy, inasmuch as it has attacked the problem of the atom at its very root, and illuminates the interior. What we are nowadays hearing of the language of spectra is a true 'music of the spheres' in order and harmony that becomes ever more perfect in spite of the manifold variety. The theory of spectral lines will bear the name of Bohr for all time. But yet another name will be permanently associated with it, that of Planck. All integral laws of spectral lines and of atomic theory spring originally from the quantum theory. It is the mysterious organon on which Nature plays her music of the spectra, and according to the rhythm of which she regulates the structure of the atoms and nuclei.”
Arnold Sommerfeld, Atombau Und Spektrallinien

Sam Kean
“Also unlike a planet, an electron—if excited by heat or light—can leap from its low-energy shell to an empty, high-energy shell. The electron cannot stay in the high-energy state for long, so it soon crashes back down. But this isn’t a simple back-and-forth motion, because as it crashes, the electron jettisons energy by emitting light.”
Sam Kean, The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

Sam Kean
“When you do the math and examine how much energy is produced per atomic union, you find that fusing anything to iron’s twenty-six protons costs energy. That means post-ferric fusion* does an energy-hungry star no good. Iron is the final peal of a star’s natural life.”
Sam Kean, The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

E.F. Schumacher
“To say that life is nothing but a property of certain peculiar combinations of atoms is like saying that Shakespeare's Hamlet is nothing but a property of a peculiar combination of letters.”
E.F. Schumacher, A Guide for the Perplexed

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