I work out of our office on One Market Street in San Francisco. My standup-desk is right across from our Gallery at One Market. One of our newer exhibits is called Powers of Design. It was first featured at the Technology Entertainment & Design (TED) conference last year. Powers of Design depicts the size of everything from the inconceivably small to the mind-blowingly large. I thought I'd cover the exhibit elements, one at a time, over the next few months. I am starting small and am working my way up. On Monday we talked about our friends, protons and neutrons, so now let's move up the ladder one notch in terms of magnitude.
Atomic Nucleus of a Uranium Atom
As we take the first tentative steps on our journey of scale, we arrive at some of the very building blocks (even though they look round) of existence. The atomic nucleus is the dense region consisting of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons at the center of the basic unit of matter, the atom.
Almost all of an atom’s mass is located in its nucleus, the rest provided by its orbiting cloud of negatively charged electrons. The diameter of the nucleus ranges from 1.75 fm for hydrogen—the diameter of a single proton—to about 15 fm for the heaviest atoms, such as uranium.
On Monday when I covered the proton, and its size was about 1.6 femtometers, not knowing what a femtometer was, I thought "1.6 femtometers -- really? Why didn't scientists just make it 1.0 femtometers and define a femtometer as the size of a proton, much like the Celsius scale was defined for water?" A femtometer is a metric unit of length equal to one quadrillionth of a meter. Realizing that, it all makes sense. It's like the old saying "A billion fentomillions saved, is a billion fentomillions earned."
Thanks to Global Content Manager, Matt Tierney, for the images and text that comprise the exhibit element. This is just one of the many exhibits in the gallery at One Market in San Francisco. The gallery is open to the public on Wednesdays from 12 pm to 5 pm, and admission is free. Visit us.
Previous posts on this topic include:
Future blog posts will cover:
- 10-13 Nada, Zilch, Zero, Zip
- 10-12 Gamma Rays
- 10-11 Fluorine Ion
- 10-10 Wavelength of Hard X-Rays
- 10-9 Carbon Nanotubes
- 10-8 Molecular Transport Nano Robot
- 10-7 HIV Virus
- 10-6 Red Blood Cells
- 10-5 Sand
- 10-4 Microelectromechanical Systems
- 10-3 Sonata Silicium Watch Components
- 10-2 Lego
- 10-1 Prosthetic Fairing
- 100 Biome Concept Car
- 101 Ma'erkang Housing Reconstruction
- 102 Shanghai Tower
- 103 Bay Bridge
- 104 Masdar City
- 105 Palm Islands
- 106 The Moon
- 107 Earth
- 108 Jupiter
- 109 The Sun
- 1010 Distance Light Travels in 34 Seconds
- 1011 Distance from Jupiter to the Sun
- 1012 Distance from Pluto to the Sun
- 1013 Voyager 2
- 1014 The Solar System
- 1015 Cat's Eye Nebula
- 1016 Pillars of Creation
- 1017 Great Orion Nebula
- 1018 M15 Globular Cluster
- 1019 Sagitarius Dwarf Galaxy
- 1020 Trangulum Galaxy
- 1021 The Milky Way
- 1022 IC 1101
- 1023 Local Group of Galaxies
- 1024 The Local Supercluster
- 1025 3C 273
- 1026 Outer Limit of the Universe
Measurement is alive in the lab.