Seems solid enough

The Atomic angle

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15/10/2012 at 06:42

The fact that we are but a collection of atoms is one thing. But the surprise is that 99.9999999999999% of an atom is empty space. Which means on an atomic level we barely exist. However, if you can extract all the energy contained in a human body from an atomic position, there's enough in there to provide 0.1% of all the energy used by the entire planets human population in one year.

15/10/2012 at 09:28
Great facts Ricf. You should put that on the Vicar's facts thread.
15/10/2012 at 09:36

So that's 10 humans a year, seem a bargain. Obviously I'm too small to be worth the effort...

15/10/2012 at 09:39

er I did put the first bit up then thought to lighten up on the physics so stopped there.

15/10/2012 at 09:42

Blows my tiny mind!  Or to put it another way...

"If you imagine a nucleus scaled up to the size of a tennis ball, then the tiny electron would be smaller than a mote of dust orbiting at a distance of a kilometre."
p9, Brian Cox & Jeff Forshaw, The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does Happen.

15/10/2012 at 10:10

T.mouse, wouldn't that be a 1000?

So all we need to do is work out how to split the atoms in a human? Then work out a plan for appropriating body parts, criminals anyone? Then hey presto, free electricity for everyone!

No doubt it would need more energy to extract the energy from the atoms than we would gain...

15/10/2012 at 10:25 yeah, my maths stopped at 1% then the numbers got to big and I ran out of fingers.

But still, a tiny proportion of the human population as to be negligible is what my head was telling me.

I guess being mostly water, would we provide our own cooling system as well?

15/10/2012 at 10:46

So if a coal fired power station could use live humans as fuel (I'll go with Lard arse's criminal masses) at the standard 22% efficiency we could burn just short of 5,000 live criminals per annum and Bob's your uncle.

It may be lacking in the absolute Physics but it's a start

15/10/2012 at 10:58

Couldn't you just use dead bodies?  We're talking about reactions on an atomic level, not cellular, so presumably you don't need a supply of living humans?

Anyway, if we're going to last any amount of time as a species without killing ourselves to oblivion because of the energy crisis we need to start harnessing nuclear fusion.  I'm sure it will work just as well on potatoes...

15/10/2012 at 11:18

EKGO I think you're confusing combustion with atomic, I don't believe burning people would release atomic energy otherwise come November the 5th we'll have nuclear fall out everywhereand we'll be wearing NBC suits (what you don't burn real people as guys where you live?)

Phil, potatoes and dead people wouldn't be as fun would it?  

15/10/2012 at 13:28

Lard Arse, yes I get the science, I was thinking more of the practical elements, and unless you try these things you just don't know.

Anyway we are an Island made of coal, surrounded by Oil and Gas fields, we laid cables in the late 70s to sell excess power to the French to subsidise our own economy. Now we buy French Nuclear power at inflated rates using our own cables, and we use Gas to make Electricity, so burning criminals begins to sound sensible.



we are currently

15/10/2012 at 14:31

I was surprised by the atom stuff, also surprised when I discovered that even at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second, nippy) it would take 100,000 years to go from one side of our galaxy to the other. 

or that the nearest galaxy to our own is.......(guess how far away)

or that there's as many stars as all the grains of sand on earth, (what!)

15/10/2012 at 14:41

Potatoes might be fun if you could get them to explode.

I'm still on for burning criminals though.

Booo    pirate
15/10/2012 at 17:47

but does it have to be living people, or just people ... surely the dead (or more accurately the recently dead) would still stock a fair old number of serviceable atoms that could be put to use ......

actually thinking about it if this is true then why are crematoriums so bloomin' expensive .... me thinks someone is making a mint here !

15/10/2012 at 18:03

Or why not just bang atoms together (fusion) - much more energy available that way..... it is kind of hard to do though. 


'we' (as in scientists in general) are working on it though. 


Physics is fun people 


15/10/2012 at 18:25

Just forked out for a copy of 'Advanced Physics for you', expensive. The 'you', is the youth in our house repelling gravity via the sofa.

15/10/2012 at 18:26

LOL - We have so many physics books in our house - DH currently writing part of new curriculum physics course - do you want to borrow one?

15/10/2012 at 19:04

Thanks for the offer, the lad says he has all the books he needs for now. Though not sure if that means they'll be others required.

Blisters    pirate
18/10/2012 at 10:45

The hardest bit about an atomic physics course is finding the energy to open the books.

Anyway, back to the discussion about the inside of an atom. All of a sudden we see that 0.0000000000001% of everything is actually nothing. (Keep up), Therefore all matter, and anti-matter can be compressed to that percentage of its currently perceived size. However, this fact means that London, being about 40 miles across, could now be compressed into a circle that is a mere 6.4x10 to the -11 meters. That's a thousand thousand times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. The whole of planet earth would be compressed into a sphere that is 1/10 the diameter of human hair, providing that the original quote was correct. You think that's mind boggling? Wait. This tiny speck would still weigh the same as the whole earth.

All of a sudden, the concept of a singularity and a big bang don't seem too unusual.

18/10/2012 at 18:59


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