How It Works

Top 5 Facts: Atoms

1 Super-dense
The nucleus which is located at the heart of every atom makes up more than 99.9 per cent of its mass, but only a trillionth of its total volume.
2 Electrons are tiny
At only 1/1,836th the size of a proton or neutron, electrons contribute almost nothing to an atom’s mass, but are the most active component of an atom, responsible for bonding.
3 The rest is filler
More than 99.9 per cent of an atom’s volume is empty space. If an atom’s nucleus were the size of a basketball, its electrons would be zipping around several miles away.
4 The quantum leap
When electrons jump between energy levels, they don’t move through the space between. Instead, they disappear from one level and then instantly reappear on another level.
5 The force is strong
Atomic nuclei are held together by the strong force, which is 1038 times stronger than gravity, but only operates on the minute scale of a nucleus.