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Offline Martin C

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nuclear structure
« on: 16/08/2004 23:26:33 »
Greetings Folks,

I am new to this site, so I probably won't get things done just right the first time, but I have a question for anyone familiar with nuclear physics. I am reading a textbook on modern physics, and I have a problem with its treatment of the atomic nucleus. I'm not clear on how to conceptualize its structure. Should it be considered in terms of orbitals, or is it more appropriate to think in terms of those little spheres (neutrons and protons). Thanks for any help you can provide.

Martin C


 

Offline tweener

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Re: nuclear structure
« Reply #1 on: 17/08/2004 03:30:35 »
Welcome Martin!  It looks like you got everything right.

I'm no nuclear physicist, but the nucleus is normally thought of as a little ball in the center of the atom.  The protons and neutrons are stuck together (by the Strong force) to make the nucleus.  The orbitals are the electrons that surround the nucleus, kind of like planets around the sun.

An interesting factoid I learned the other day.  If an atom was expanded to the size of an apple, the nucleus would still be only six ten-thousandths of an inch across, which is "very microscopic".

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John - The Eternal Pessimist.
 

Offline qpan

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Re: nuclear structure
« Reply #2 on: 17/08/2004 10:02:42 »
Yes - if you are starting off, just imagine orbitals like the orbits of plants around the Sun, except with electrons around the nucleus.

Surprisingly, 99.999999etc % of the nucleus is actually nothing, and so what makes up the majority of everything around you is actually nothing as well!

In reality, electrons don't just orbit atoms as such - the orbitals are actually 3D tear - drop shapes around the nucleus where electrons have the highest probability of being. This is because it is actually statistically possible for the electron to be anywhere between 0 and infinite units of distance away from the nucleus, but the probabilities of them not being in their orbitals are small.


"I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."
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Offline OmnipotentOne

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Re: nuclear structure
« Reply #3 on: 17/08/2004 21:08:16 »
I'm pretty much made of nothing...That is very weird I never knew that either.  Why can i not pass through something else, or someone else sence there nearly nothing as well?  If the atoms are that far apart wouldnt it be a very rare chance that theyd come in contact with an incomming outside force.  Or am I truely not touching things at all, is it just a field that propels me from falling through my chair.  Now my head hurts.

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Offline tweener

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Re: nuclear structure
« Reply #4 on: 18/08/2004 02:45:22 »
The only thing that keeps you from falling through your chair is the electric forces exerted between the electrons in the atoms of your body, which are bound together by in chemical bonds, and the electrons in the atoms of the chair.

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John - The Eternal Pessimist.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: nuclear structure
« Reply #4 on: 18/08/2004 02:45:22 »

 

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