I know this topic has been addressed on this forum ad nauseam and please redirect my post if it is posted incorrectly. The basis for my view is that the scientific method will not be able to distinguish between different views which make the same observational predictions. I do understand that atoms exist in a functional sense and we are able to prove this by the characteristics they exhibit as well as through experimentation but without getting philosophical about what "really exists or what it means to 'exist' " can we really say with absolute certainty that atoms are really physical constructs? I know atoms exhibit physical characteristics. In a sense they absolutely do physically exist but what, in the accumulated data, makes it certain that they are not just an arrangement of energy that suggests physical existence? Light bouncing off of them, or electrons, is not really an absolute indicator that they are physically present, as we perceive them to be today. Could an atom be something such as a segment of energy that is arranged in a particular way to create these functions? If atoms are not physically present, as we currently perceive them to be according to scientific consensus, it could have implications for things such as cosmology (formation of the universe) but in terms of everyday life, yes I understand it is a pointless topic. I have a nagging, somewhat romantic, notion that the atom is not actually composed of neutrons, protons and electrons but individual "fields" that exhibit those characteristics. Any thoughts on this? some of the basic principals which are used to validate their physical existence are stated below, but these explanations, as far as I can determine don't really prove but merely indicate: Observations in chemistry such as the ideal gas law and the nature of chemical reactions. The quantum mechanical description of atoms predicts, to an astonishingly accuracy, the details of atomic spectra. Individual ions (electrically charged atoms) can be manipulated with electric and magnetic fields. There are even elevation maps of surfaces that show the bumps caused by individual atoms. This technology has even been used to model the IBM logo with individual atoms!