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原子究竟有多小? – 译学馆
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原子究竟有多小?

Just How Small is an Atom?

你可能已经知道
You probably already know
一切都是由被称为原子的粒子构成,
everything is made up of little tiny things called atoms
甚至每个原子是由更小的粒子,
or even that each atom is made up of even smaller particles
被称为质子,中子和电子构成。
called protons, neutrons and electrons.
你还可能已经听说过原子很小。
And you’ve probably heard that atoms are small.
但我敢打赌,你肯定没有想过原小究竟有多小。
But I bet you haven’t ever thought about how small atoms really are.
答案是,它们真的真的很小。
Well, the answer is that they are really, really small.
那么你会问,原子究竟有多小?
So you ask, just how small are atoms?
要理解它,让我们先问以下问题:
To understand this, let’s ask this question:
葡萄柚里有多少个原子?
How many atoms are in a grapefruit?
好,我们假设葡萄柚只由氮原子构成,
Well, let’s assume that the grapefruit is made up of only nitrogen atoms,
这当然不是真的,但葡萄柚里的确有氮原子。
which isn’t at all true, but there are nitrogen atoms in a grapefruit.
为了帮助你想象,我们放大每一个原子
To help you visualize this, let’s blow up each of the atoms
到一颗蓝莓的大小。
to the size of a blueberry.
然后葡萄柚会变成多大呢?
And then how big would the grapefruit have to be?
它会跟地球一样大。
It would have to be the same size of — well, actually, the Earth.
这太疯狂了!
That’s crazy!
你的意思是说,如果我用蓝莓塞满地球,
You mean to say that if I filled the Earth with blueberries,
我将得到与一个葡萄柚里氮原子相同的数量吗?
I would have the same number of nitrogen atoms as a grapefruit?
对的!
That’s right!
所以,原子有多大呢?
So how big is the atom?
它真的真的非常小!
Well, it’s really, really small!
你知道吗?这变得更疯狂了。
And you know what? It gets even more crazy.
现在让我们往里面看每一个原子——也就是蓝莓,对吧?
Let’s now look inside of each atom — and thus the blueberry, right? —
你看到了什么?
What do you see there?
在原子中心的东西叫原子核,
In the center of the atom is something called the nucleus,
它包含了质子和中子,
which contains protons and neutrons,
在它外面,你能看到电子。
and on the outside, you’d see electrons.
那原子核有多大?
So how big is the nucleus?
如果原子是地球里的蓝莓,
If atoms are like blueberries in the Earth,
原子核会有多大呢?
how big would the nucleus be?
你可能还记得在科学课上看到原子的图片,
You might remember the old pictures of the atom from science class,
你能看到一个箭头指向原子核的纸上的小点。
where you saw this tiny dot on the page with an arrow pointing to the nucleus.
那些图片是不按照比例画的,
Well, those pictures, they’re not drawn to scale,
所以它们是错的。
so they’re kind of wrong.
那原子核有多大呢?
So how big is the nucleus?
如果你打开蓝莓,寻找原子核…
So if you popped open the blueberry and were searching for the nucleus …
你知道吗?它是看不见的。
You know what? It would be invisible.
它太小了!
It’s too small to see!
好,让我们放大原子——蓝莓——
OK. Let’s blow up the atom — the blueberry —
到屋子的大小。
to the size of a house.
想象一下,两层楼的房子高的原子。
So imagine a ball that is as tall as a two-story house.
让我们找一下在原子中心的原子核吧。
Let’s look for the nucleus in the center of the atom.
你知道吗?它几乎是看不见的。
And do you know what? It would just barely be visible.
为了让我们集中思维理解原子核有多大,
So to get our minds wrapped around how big the nucleus is,
我们需要把蓝莓放大到一个足球场大小。
we need to blow up the blueberry, up to the size of a football stadium.
想象一下,足球场大小的原子。
So imagine a ball the size of a football stadium,
不偏不倚,在原子的正中间,
and right smack dab in the center of the atom,
你会找到原子核,,而且你还可以看到它!
you would find the nucleus, and you could see it!
它跟弹珠一样大。
And it would be the size of a small marble.
如果我没有弄乱你的思维,这还有更多。
And there’s more, if I haven’t blown your mind by now.
让我们想想原子吧。
Let’s consider the atom some more.
它包含质子,中子和电子。
It contains protons, neutrons and electrons.
质子和中子在原子核里面,
The protons and neutrons live inside of the nucleus,
它们包含了原子几乎所有的质量。
and contain almost all of the mass of the atom.
电子则在边缘。
Way on the edge are the electrons.
如果原子是足球场大小,
So if an atom is like a ball the size of a football stadium,
中心是原子核,边缘上的是电子,
with the nucleus in the center, and the electrons on the edge,
那在原子核与电子之间的是什么呢?
what is in between the nucleus and the electrons?
惊讶的是,答案是空的。
Surprisingly, the answer is empty space.
(风声)
(Wind noise)
对。是空的!
That’s right. Empty!
在原子核和电子之间有宽广的空白区域。
Between the nucleus and the electrons, there are vast regions of empty space.
学术上来说,是有些电磁场。
Now, technically there are some electromagnetic fields,
但对于物质方面,它是空的。
but in terms of stuff, matter, it is empty.
记住蓝莓里面宽广的空白区域,
Remember this vast region of empty space is inside the blueberry,
它是在地球内部的,
which is inside the Earth,
它还是葡萄柚里的原子。
which really are the atoms in the grapefruit.
好,如果能更异想天开,那还有一件事。
OK, one more thing, if I can even get more bizarre.
既然原子几乎所有的质量都是在原子核中—
Since virtually all the mass of an atom is in the nucleus —
电子也有些质量,
now, there is some amount of mass in the electrons,
但大多数都在原子核中,
but most of it is in the nucleus —
那原子核的密度是多少呢?
how dense is the nucleus?
答案是疯狂的。
Well, the answer is crazy.
一个典型原子核的密度
The density of a typical nucleus
是4乘以10的17千克每立方米。
is four times 10 to the 17th kilograms per meter cubed.
但这很难想象。好,我会把它放到英制单位。
But that’s hard to visualize. OK, I’ll put it in English units.
2.5乘以10的16磅每立方英尺。
2.5 times 10 to the 16th pounds per cubic feet.
好了,但这还是很难搞清楚。
OK, that’s still kind of hard to figure.
好,这就是我想让你做的。
OK, here’s what I want you to do.
做个一立方英尺的盒子。
Make a box that is one foot by one foot by one foot.
现在让我们从一辆汽车里拿出所有的原子核。
Now let’s go and grab all of the nuclei from a typical car.
现在汽车平均重达两吨。
Now, cars on average weigh two tons.
你要放多少辆车的原子核到盒子里
How many cars’ nuclei would you have to put into the box
才使得你一英尺盒子的密度与原子核密度相同呢?
to have your one-foot-box have the same density of the nucleus?
一辆汽车吗?还是两辆?
Is it one car? Two?
100辆怎么样?
How about 100?
不,不,不。
Nope, nope and nope.
答案是要更多。
The answer is much bigger.
是62亿辆。
It is 6.2 billion.
这几乎是等于在地球上的人口总数。
That is almost equal to the number of people in the Earth.
所以如果地球上的每一个人都拥有自己的车,
So if everyone in the Earth owned their own car —
而且他们不
and they don’t —
(汽车喇叭声)
(Cars honking)
我们把所有的汽车都放到你的那个盒子里…
and we put all of those cars into your box …
这将得到一个原子核的密度。
That would be about the density of a nucleus.
所以我说,如果你把世界上的每辆车
So I’m saying that if you took every car in the world
都放到你那一英尺盒子里,
and put it into your one-foot box,
你就能得出一个原子核的密度。
you would have the density of one nucleus.
好,让我们一起回顾一下。
OK, let’s review.
原子是真的,
The atom is really,
真的,真的很小。
really, really small.
把葡萄柚里的原子想象成地球上的蓝莓。
Think atoms in a grapefruit like blueberries in the Earth.
原子核更小更小。
The nucleus is crazy small.
现在往蓝莓里面看,
Now look inside the blueberry,
并将它放大到足球场大小,
and blow it up to the size of a football stadium,
现在,原子核就是中间的一颗弹珠。
and now the nucleus is a marble in the middle.
原子由宽广的空白区域构成。
The atom is made up of vast regions of empty space.
这是很奇怪的。
That’s weird.
原子核有非常高的密度。
The nucleus has a crazy-high density.
想象一下,把所有的这些车放到一英尺盒子里。
Think of putting all those cars in your one-foot box.
我想我累了。
I think I’m tired.

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