When asked what is an atom you do not immediately have to say that it is a basic unit of matter which consists of a nucleus at the center. Try to understand what an atom is in your own words. Take help in picturing it because atoms cannot be seen by the naked eye. How do you understand something so minute? You can observe atoms only through a tunneling microscope. The word atom is derived from the Greek word ‘atomus’ which means a particle that cannot be cut. Atom was an ancient term which represented the building block of the universe and was subject to much speculation. It was revived in 1805 by John Dalton, a British Chemist. Isn’t it incredible how such a large and complex universe is made up of minute atoms?

Atoms can be visualized with help from your online tutor using technology. You do not have to see an atom but you can still picture it with interesting dynamic representations. There are many interesting facts about atoms. On a full stop after a sentence you can fit around two billion atoms. Atoms are themselves made up of tinier particles called electrons, protons and neutrons. This fact is generally withheld in the earlier classes to avoid confusion with chemical nature of a substance. In the 1890s scientists thought that atoms cannot be broken down. How did they find out otherwise? Ernest Rutherford in 1909 concluded after an experiment that atom is an empty space with dense nucleus at its center. Later James Chadwick discovered that the nucleus contained two kinds of particles which are electrons and neutrons. Over time scientists have found smaller sub atomic particles.

In fact cartoons are known to explain the concept of atoms and the building blocks of the universe very effectively. How the scientists experimented to discover such truths can be simulated by some basic special effects. The protons and electrons stay together because they attract each other like magnets but at the same time they do not crash into each other because of the centrifugal force of the electron. If you take the example of billiards you can represent these particles through billiard balls. A tutor can easily create a game that explains the way these particles work. To scrutinize a concept you need to discover for yourself and as you cannot always do that due to various constraints you can still simulate it through technology. Scientists in the past would have envied the technology available to us now as there is a lot to discover and technology only enables ‘eureka’.

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