How much do you know about atoms? Test your knowledge with these fascinating facts.

  1. Everything in the universe is made up of atoms. They are the basic building blocks of all types of matter in the universe.
  2. Atoms are incredibly small, measuring one-tenth of a billionth of a metre across. They are so small that you can’t see them even under a powerful microscope. Because they are so small, it takes trillions of atoms to make up anything, for example, there are 7 billion billion billion atoms in your body.
  3. An atom is constructed from smaller particles called subatomic particles. These subatomic particles are electrons, protons, and neutrons.
  4. There are over 100 different kinds of atom - 92 natural and 8 man made. The different kinds of atom are based on its number of electrons, protons, and neutrons. Atoms can also be changed through undergoing chemical reactions and combine to make molecules.
  5. Different types and numbers of atoms fit together to make different elements and combine in different ways to make different types of matter, all with their own unique number of protons, neutrons, and electrons.
  6. At the centre of an atom is the nucleus which is made up of protons and neutrons. The nucleus is extremely dense and contains all of the atom’s mass. Because the nucleus is so difficult to split, atoms can last forever.
  7. Neutrons have no charge. The number of neutrons in a nucleus plays a major role in determining the atom’s mass and radioactivity.
  8. Protons are positively charged particles in the nucleus of an atom. Every element in nature or made in a lab has at least one proton. The mass of a proton is the same as a neutron but 1840x greater than the mass of electron.
  9. Electrons are negatively charged particles that orbit around the outside of the nucleus. They spin so fast that it can be difficult for scientists to observe them. They are attracted to the positive charge of the protons and are the smallest particles in an atom - you can fit 2000 of them into a proton.
  10. An atom is mostly empty space. Each atom is 99.9% space because the electrons orbit so far away from the nucleus.

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