1. Cosmos
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    28 Jan '18 16:11
    I know there must be very powerful microscopes now..but what is the smallest thing ever seen..An atom ? proton ? etc..
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    28 Jan '18 18:536 edits
    https://www.azonano.com/nanotechnology-video-details.aspx?VidID=354

    "...Lawrence Berkeley National Labs just turned on a $27 million electron microscope. Its ability to make images to a resolution of half the width of a hydrogen atom makes it the most powerful microscope in the world. ..."

    There was plenty of powerful electron microscopes before this that could discern individual atoms on a solid surface as vague blobs.

    It has often been theorized by many physicists that certain known loop-holes in the laws of physics could be ingeniously exploited to give much higher resolution and allow the microscope to image individual atomic nuclei and even individual electrons around atoms in real time! (I will explain one of these 'loop-holes' on request if anyone is interested? )
    That, obviously, would involve breaking the known laws of physics but rather merely albeit cleverly work around them.
    However, that has so far failed to be achieved in practice although there is no reason to think it cannot be achieved eventually so I am sure it will be one day. Makes me seriously wonder how long until that would be achieved and what new discoveries could come from it. We might discover new physics from it.
  3. Germany
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    28 Jan '18 22:47
    Originally posted by @ogb
    I know there must be very powerful microscopes now..but what is the smallest thing ever seen..An atom ? proton ? etc..
    It depends on what you mean by "the smallest thing ever seen." Elementary particles have no observable size, so any of them will do (electrons, photons, etc.).
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    29 Jan '18 07:18
    Originally posted by @humy

    That, obviously, would involve breaking the known laws of physics but rather [/b]
    woops! That "would" should have been "wouldn't".
  5. Standard memberSoothfast
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    29 Jan '18 21:27
    Originally posted by @kazetnagorra
    It depends on what you mean by "the smallest thing ever seen." Elementary particles have no observable size, so any of them will do (electrons, photons, etc.).
    I guess it even depends on what we mean by "see."
  6. Cosmos
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    31 Jan '18 05:40
    I guess it even depends on what we mean by "see."
    I suppose if a persons observes something (even through a microscope), it becomes real. Before that, it is just a theory..
  7. Standard memberwolfgang59
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    31 Jan '18 23:23
    Originally posted by @ogb
    I suppose if a persons observes something (even through a microscope), it becomes real. Before that, it is just a theory..
    Are you talking about seeing visible light through a microscope?
  8. Cosmos
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    10 Feb '18 14:53
    Originally posted by @wolfgang59
    Are you talking about seeing visible light through a microscope?
    well maybe I meant confirming a theory with the use of a super powerful microscope. I've seen on the net that atoms have actually been observed..
  9. Germany
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    11 Feb '18 14:27
    Originally posted by @ogb
    well maybe I meant confirming a theory with the use of a super powerful microscope. I've seen on the net that atoms have actually been observed..
    Atoms, quarks, electrons, etc. etc. have all been directly observed.
  10. Subscribersonhouse
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    11 Feb '18 19:291 edit
    Originally posted by @kazetnagorra
    Atoms, quarks, electrons, etc. etc. have all been directly observed.
    Not directly, if you are talking about the big boys like CERN, the giant accelerator there, stuff blows up, turns into other stuff, then hits detectors which shows a 1 instead of a 0. You get enough 1's and you have confirmed detection. Obviously not that simple since the angle of the dangle is measured too but you get the idea.
  11. Germany
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    11 Feb '18 19:54
    Originally posted by @sonhouse
    Not directly, if you are talking about the big boys like CERN, the giant accelerator there, stuff blows up, turns into other stuff, then hits detectors which shows a 1 instead of a 0. You get enough 1's and you have confirmed detection. Obviously not that simple since the angle of the dangle is measured too but you get the idea.
    This is a kind of direct observation. You shoot some stuff into each other and look at what comes out. So what?
  12. Subscribersonhouse
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    12 Feb '18 05:04
    Originally posted by @kazetnagorra
    This is a kind of direct observation. You shoot some stuff into each other and look at what comes out. So what?
    Well, the look part is indirect, it's not like there is a camera watching the explosion of particles and their daughter particles and such. It hits a series of silicon detectors that go , PING, a one logic level is generated for that period of time and it takes a computer to put all the individual pings together to generate an 'image'. This is not image making, it is information used to generate a graph.
  13. Germany
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    12 Feb '18 07:59
    Originally posted by @sonhouse
    Well, the look part is indirect, it's not like there is a camera watching the explosion of particles and their daughter particles and such. It hits a series of silicon detectors that go , PING, a one logic level is generated for that period of time and it takes a computer to put all the individual pings together to generate an 'image'. This is not image making, it is information used to generate a graph.
    A photon enters your eye. A neuron goes PING. The principle is the same.
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    12 Feb '18 08:303 edits
    Before arguing about whether an observation is 'direct' or 'indirect', is would help to define what is generally meant by a "direct observation" versus an "indirect observation".
    The problem as far as I can judge here is that there would be no criteria that most people would agree with for deciding whether an observation is 'direct' or 'indirect' nor on how to quantify how much it is 'indirect'. They seem to be vague and highly relative terms. You could even argue that ALL observations are 'indirect' rendering the term almost meaningless; does the same bit of light radiation you see directly enter your conscious brain?
  15. Subscribersonhouse
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    12 Feb '18 18:19
    Originally posted by @humy
    Before arguing about whether an observation is 'direct' or 'indirect', is would help to define what is generally meant by a "direct observation" versus an "indirect observation".
    The problem as far as I can judge here is that there would be no criteria that most people would agree with for deciding whether an observation is 'direct' or 'indirect' nor on how t ...[text shortened]... t meaningless; does the same bit of light radiation you see directly enter your conscious brain?
    Besides that, the light that enters your eye is delayed in time so even that is not in the strictest sense 'direct'. For instance, to take an unlikely case, suppose we aim a telescope at Mars, we are seeing it a few minutes in the past so if a giant asteroid hit it we wouldn't even know for that few minutes so is that a 'direct' observation?
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