Are you actually touching anything?

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Offline thedoc

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Are you actually touching anything?
« on: 01/12/2015 15:50:02 »
Jess Gonzalez asked the Naked Scientists:
   Is it true that is impossible to physically touch something? I once heard that it our hand does not actually touch anything; a signal simply is triggered through the action.
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 01/12/2015 15:50:02 by _system »


Offline chiralSPO

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Re: Are you actually touching anything?
« Reply #1 on: 01/12/2015 18:21:32 »
This depends on what you mean by touch.

The subatomic particles in the nuclei of "our" atoms never come in to contact with the nuclei of any other atoms (unless there is a nuclear reaction nearby). Thinking of the electrons as discrete particles probably doesn't really help here either (two electron particles will push against oneanother before occupying exactly the same position. But if we think of touching as bring "our" electrons' as wavefunctions into overlap with the wavefunctions of an objects electrons, then yes, we definitely touch things.