The Physics Of The Atomic Theory

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“What is the world made of?” That question has puzzled scientists and philosophers for centuries. The atomic theory was first proposed in ancient Greece around 400 BC and has continued to evolve through the centuries to finally evolve into the current theory we have today. We now know that the subatomic particles that make up the atom are no longer the fundamental particles of the universe because even they are made of smaller particles called “quarks.” The continuous study of atoms will allow us to truly understand the universe and harness it’s knowledge to further science and technology for the good of society.

In ancient Greece, the first philosophers searched for the fundamental building blocks of the world. Originally, it was thought that the fundamental elements were earth, air, fire, and water. Empedocles (c. 490-430 BC) was the first to classify the elements and propose that they made up everything in our world in different combinations. Leucippus (c. 460-370 BC), and his student Democritus (c. 460-370 BC), were the first to propose a theory that the world was made up of “atoms.” The word “atom” is derived from the Greek word “atomon,” which means “that which cannot be divided” (The Particle Adventure). Leucippus’s theory was very vague. He claimed the world was made of two elements that he called, “the full” or the “solid” and “the empty” or “void” (Berryman). He believed these particles were infinite and were what made up all things. Because Leucippus’s

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