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Read e-book online Atom: Journey Across the Subatomic Cosmos PDF

By Isaac Asimov

ISBN-10: 0525249907

ISBN-13: 9780525249900

The mythical Isaac Asimov begins what's might be the best of all his books with an easy question: How finely can a section of subject be divided? yet like many straightforward questions, this one leads readers on a far-flung quest for a last resolution, a seek that encompasses such attention-grabbing phenomena as gentle and electrical energy and their components--strange yet genuine bits of subject that problem our assumptions concerning the very nature of time and house. forty illustrations.

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Extra info for Atom: Journey Across the Subatomic Cosmos

Sample text

It, too, was an assumption, even though there was more evidence behind it than there was behind Dalton's assumption that there was one hydrogen atom and one oxygen in the water molecule. In 1811, the Italian physicist Amedeo Avogadro 0776-1856) made a more general assumption. He sug­ gested that in the case of any gas, a given volume always contains the same number of molecules. If one gas has twice the volume of another gas, the first gas has twice as many molecules as the other. This is called Avogadro's hypoth­ esis.

M' ... j{c t " " . i:tb-·.... �': �. ,.. -:; � '7' -'"... In 1801. Thorru1s Young let light faU on a surface containing two closely adjacent slits. The wedge of light from each slit feU on a screen and overlapped. resulting in a pattern of stripes-bright bands and dim bands alternating. There seemed no way of explain­ ing this phenomenon by the particle hypathesis. On the other hand, if the waves from one slit were out of phase with those from the other slit-if one set of waves went up while the other went down (or one went in while the other went outl-then the two waves would cancel each other, at least in part, and the two combined would be weaker than either separately.

Astonished, Herschel won47 Atom dered what would happen if he placed the thermometer bulb beyond the red. He found, to his even greater aston­ ishment, that the temperature rose to a higher figure there than anywhere in the visible spectrum. Herschel thought he had detected heat waves. In a few years, however, the wave theory of light was established and a better interpretation became possible. Sunlight has a range of wavelengths that are spread out by a prism. Our retina reacts to wavelengths of light within certain limits, but sunlight has some waves that are longer than that of the visible red, and is therefore to be found beyond the red end of the spectrum.

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Atom: Journey Across the Subatomic Cosmos by Isaac Asimov


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