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Why are atoms spherical?

  1. Aug 27, 2012 #1
    This isn't exactly homework, but I'm still in high-school and I feel guilty posting in the big guys' forums.

    I've recently learnt about the shapes of spdf orbitals and the way they interact to form different bonds. This is completely different to the nice spherical atoms we were shown back in primary.

    However, I recall seeing several photographs of atoms taken through a microscrope, and they were most definitely spherical. Can someone reconcile these conflicting ideas? What shape is an atom?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2012 #2
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