What Atoms Really Look Like?

What Atoms Really Look Like?


We all know that matter consists of particles called atoms. Incredibly many of these particles are needed to form an object that would be visible to a naked human eye. In fact, you need quadrillions of atoms just to build a tiny spec of matter, that could be large enough to resolve with our own biological visual capabilities.

A rendered image of atom structure with possible electron positions. Still image from YouTube video.

Atoms are so tiny we are still have lots of difficulties to see them even with a high-tech equipment. But some progress has been made in this area: it is possible manipulate them one at a time, or do some funny things. And we also can see them with advanced electron microscopes, appearing like tiny round grains. However, this is still only a very approximate representation of the atom’s appearance, because we know these particles consist of different sub-atomic particles tightly bound by fundamental forces.

So what would be the best way to imagine an atom, based on what scientists already know about them? The following video explains how they would look like if it were possible to magnify atoms, or better to say, to magnify their stop-motion images, till their internal structure is clearly visible:

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