A hypothetical question about seeing an atom with the naked eye

  • #1
This is only hypothetical, but bare with me.

I did some searching on the interweb and found out that a drop of water has about:
1.67 × 10^21 molecules
(Source: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_water_molecules_are_in_one_drop_of_water)

Also, the amount of protons and neutrons that can be inside a nucleus is theoritcally unlimited. And the amount of electrons that can orbit the nucleus is also unlimited.

If both of these are correct, wouldnt that then mean, that if someone was to create an atom that had billions of protons and neutrons in it`s nucleus, that we then would be able to see an atom with our naked eyes.

I mean it kinda makes sense to me, what do you think?
Is it hypothetically and theoretically possible?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
arildno
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Can you see something that is gone in a zillionth of a blink of the eye?
 
  • #3
but there could be ways to prevent this, or in some way construct the atom so it would not interact with other atoms. Right?
 
  • #4
we could use cameras that take photos million times a second. I mean besisdes the problems of it dissapearing, it this hypothetically possible
 
  • #5
arildno
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Why cannot there exist, for example, a lowest resolution time for a photographic apparatus as well, with effects lasting less than that time being non-discernible?
 
  • #6
Please think about the idea, and not about the realistic approach to it. Please speak noob friendly. Thank you.
Let`s drop the possibility of seeing it, but is it possible to create an atom this big?
 
  • #7
arildno
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Not with today's technology.
Someone else on the forum might possibly be able to come up with a rough idea of how much energy it would take to make that atom (IF there are no other theoretical constraints on forming it, which I don't know about).

If it would take, for example, about the total amount of energy present in our solar system to make that mega-atom, will you still regard it as "possible" to construct?
 
  • #8
D H
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Also, the amount of protons and neutrons that can be inside a nucleus is theoritcally unlimited. And the amount of electrons that can orbit the nucleus is also unlimited.

If both of these are correct, wouldnt that then mean, that if someone was to create an atom that had billions of protons and neutrons in it`s nucleus, that we then would be able to see an atom with our naked eyes.

I mean it kinda makes sense to me, what do you think?
Is it hypothetically and theoretically possible?
No.

You started with a false assumption, that atomic number is theoretically unlimited. Relativistic effects start coming into play in large nuclei, and those relativistic effects place an upper limit on atomic number.
 
  • #9
arildno
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No.

You started with a false assumption, that atomic number is theoretically unlimited. Relativistic effects start coming into play in large nuclei, and those relativistic effects place an upper limit on atomic number.
Nice to be informed of PRECISELY such a theoretical constraint I didn't know about (but kept open as a possibility)! :smile:
Are there also theoretical constraints from a "mere" quantum mechanical perspective, but that it is the "relativistic" constraint that will kick in first (or is it, perhaps, the huge energy requirement that will be the effective barrier to such constructions)?
 
  • #10
I found this thread: http://www.livescience.com/21214-atomic-nuclei-variations-estimate.html
Which pretty much blows the idea of creating an atom with that many million neutrons and protons inside the nucleus. So unfortunately this sucks....

However, if you guys/gals dont mind do you know:

1. Does the nucleus have a membrane?
2. When a supermassive supernova occurs, and when everything shrinks into the size of a corn of sand. If someone would to put that under a electron microscope(think hypothetical now please) how are the atoms organized inside then?
Any ideas? Could we see the individual atoms with a light microscope then or, what? :?
 
  • #11
phinds
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