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84,687. Although we know nothing of what an atom is, yet we cannot resist forming some idea of a small particle, which represents it to the mind ... There is an immensity of facts which justify us in believing that the atoms of matter are in some way endowed or associated with electrical powers, to which they owe their most striking qualities, and amongst them their mutual chemical affinity. (Particle & Atom) Michael Faraday, Researches in Electricity 1839
49,184. But I must confess I am jealous of the term atom; for though it is very easy to talk of atoms, it is very difficult to form a clear idea of their nature, especially when compounded bodies are under consideration. Michael Faraday
2,377. We knew the world would not be the same. Few people laughed, few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or another. (Science & Nuclear & Atom & Death) J Robert Oppenheimer, cited The Decision to Drop the Bomb 1965
2,382. The physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose. (Science & Physics & Knowledge & Sin & Nuclear & Atom) J Robert Oppenheimer, MIT lecture 25th November 1947
2,383. When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb. (Science & Success & Nuclear & Atom) J Robert Oppenheimer, 1954 Security Hearings
2,389. Radioactivity is shown to be accompanied by chemical changes in which new types of matter are being continually produced ... The conclusion is drawn that these chemical changes must be sub-atomic in character. (Science & Radiation & Matter & Atom & Particles) Ernest Rutherford, Philosophical Magazine September 1902
2,390. 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. (Science & Atom & Experiment & Particles) Ernest Rutherford, experiment one in eight thousand alpha particles scatters backwards when fired at metal sheet of foil, cited E N da C Andrada 'Rutherford and the Nature of the Atom' 1964
49,186. Now I know what the atom looks like. Ernest Rutherford
2,393. When we have found how the nucleus of atoms is built up we shall have found the greatest secret of all – except life. We shall have found the basis of everything – of the earth we walk on, of the air we breathe, of the sunshine, of our physical body itself, of everything in the world, however great or however small – except life. (Science & Atom & Particle & Life & Theory of Everything) Ernest Rutherford, cited Frank S Pepper ‘The Wit and Wisdom of the 20th Century: A Dictionary of Quotations’ 1987
2,422. Some recent work by E Fermi and L Szilard, which has been communicated to me in manuscript, leads me to expect that the element uranium may be turned into a new and important source of energy in the immediate future. Certain aspects of the situation which has arisen seem to call for watchfulness and, if necessary, quick action on the part of the Administration. (Science & Uranium & Nuclear & Atom & Energy & Einstein) Albert Einstein, letter to Franklin Roosevelt 1939
2,423. The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe. (Science & Atom & Nuclear & Einstein) Albert Einstein, cited New York Times 25th May 1946
2,425. I ask you to look both ways. For the road to a knowledge of the stars leads through the atom; and important knowledge of the atom has been reached through the stars. (Science & Knowledge & Stars & Atom) Arthur Eddington, Stars and Atoms 1928
49,185. But it is necessary to insist more strongly than usual that what I am putting before you is a model – the Bohr model atom – because later I shall take you to a profounder level of representation in which the electron instead of being confined to a particular locality is distributed in a sort of probability haze all over the atom. Arthur Stanley Eddington
2,572. Our universe seems to be made up of stars and planets and gas that are clumped together with vast gaps in between them. On an atomic level it’s pretty much all space. (Science & Universe & Atom & Cosmology & Astronomy) Dara O’Briain’s Science Club II
2,583. George Watt and George Stevenson harnessed steam power. Where Rutherford and Chadwick unravelled the architecture of the atom. Where Edward Jenner worked out the principles of vaccination ... (Science & Steam & Atom & Vaccination & Laws of Science) Science Britannica III: Clear Blue Skies
2,588. A bishop wrote gravely to The Times invited all nations to destroy ‘the formula’ of the atomic bomb. There is no simple remedy for ignorance so abysmal. (Science & Bishop & Newspapers & Atom & Nuclear & Ignorance) Peter Medawar, British Biologist born in Brazil, The Hope of Progress 1972
2,635. Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements – the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life – weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today. (Science & Atom & Star & Elements & Supernova) Lawrence M Krauss
6,481. Science has taught us to think the unthinkable. Because when nature is the guide – rather than a priori prejudices, hopes, fears or desires – we are forced out of our comfort zone. One by one, pillars of classical logic have fallen by the wayside as science progressed in the 20th century, from Einstein’s realization that measurements of space and time were not absolute but observer-dependent, to quantum mechanics, which not only put fundamental limits on what we can empirically know but also demonstrated that elementary particles and the atoms they form are doing a million seemingly impossible things at once. (Logic & Science & Measurement & Quantum Mechanics & Particles & Atom) Lawrence M Krauss
2,641. It is a slightly arresting notion that if you were to pick yourself apart with tweezers, one atom at a time, you would produce a mound of fine atomic dust, none of which had ever been alive but all of which had once been you. (Science & Humanity & Atom) Bill Bryson, A Short History of Everything
2,764. Inside the atoms the universe was revealed to be a strange, chaotic place. (Universe & Atom & Quantum Physics) Stephen Hawking’s Grand Design: The Key to the Cosmos
49,166. Before Rutherford the world had only a vague picture of how the atom worked. Now he set out to pry his way into the inner sanctum of matter by venturing within its vault. Stephen Hawking’s Universe: Cosmic Alchemy
66,751. Some scientists already understood that what distinguished one element from another were differences in the weights of their atoms. They also believed it was this – the weight of the atoms – that determined an element’s unique character. Mendeleev had a hunch: he could group them in a way that linked them in the behaviour of their chemical properties. (Chemistry & Atom) ibid.
49,167. At the atomic level, particles are almost not there. They’re less like solid lumps of matter and more like tiny empty force-fields, and as force-fields they shimmer. Physicists often describe them as waves ... They can spread out to be in more than one place at a time. (Atom & Particles) Stephen Hawking: Master of the Universe
2,941. My creation story is the story of how we were made by the universe. It explains how every atom in our bodies was formed not on earth but was formed in the depths of space. (Universe & Atom & Body) Professor Brian Cox, Wonders of the Universe: Stardust 2/4 BBC 2011
2,945. Physicists started breaking atoms apart and they discovered a slew of new particles that turned their theories upside down. (Universe & Atom & Particles) Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman: What Are We Really Made Of?
3,365. This clover-leaf pattern keeps coming up in the simulations ... Bears an uncannily resemblance to the way two of the lightest objects move around one another: the tiny protons and electrons inside an atom. (Black Hole & Atom) Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman: The Riddle of Black Holes
27,265. The results of a simple chemical experiment showed for the first time that the atom could be split, unleashing immense power. In the following months as Europe braced itself for war the Wehrmacht started a research programme to develop nuclear weapons. The Germans were the first to start work on the atom bomb. Why wasn’t Hitler the first to use it? (Nazis & Bomb & Atom & Nuclear) Horizon: Hitler’s Bomb, BBC 1992
27,266. Beneath the church in a cliff there was a disused beer cellar. In it the Americans had found a nuclear reactor. An experiment on the brink of criticality. When these cubes of Uranium were immersed in heavy water a chain reaction would begin. A storm of neutrons would sweep through the reactor. Slowly the uranium would be transformed into Plutonium, the raw material of atomic bombs. (Nazis & Bomb & Atom & Nuclear & Uranium) ibid.
27,267. What made fission so dangerous was that as each uranium atoms splits it releases not only a huge amount of energy but it also liberates more neutrons. These can collide with further nuclei creating a hugely energetic chain reaction. (Nazis & Bomb & Atom & Nuclear & Uranium) ibid.
27,268. It is one of the great ironies of the war that just as the Wehrmacht was rejecting atom weapons, fear of a Nazi bomb was pushing America into is own massive nuclear project. (Nazis & Bomb & Atom & Nuclear) ibid.