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  • Oh, hey! We have something cool to show you today.

  • Some company called "Szalinski Labs" or something was having a going out of business sale, and we thought this laser-y thing would be pretty cool for the show.

  • Uh, is it plugged in?

  • Powering up!

  • This is gonna be cool.

  • Um, you made, you made sure it wasn't turned on, right?

  • Popcorn's ready! Dr. Hanson?

  • Um. I think I've been shrunk. Or is it shrank?

  • Uh... this is not good. Let's, let's figure this out like a scientist. Think. Observe.

  • Actually, it's really hard to see. Everything is so dark.

  • Which makes sense: My irises are super super tiny, not letting in a lot of light. But who needs to see, right?!

  • HeHey! What justwhat just happened?

  • What?! Hold on...

  • They can't hear me, and I can't seem to hear them either.

  • I can explain this! A full-sized ear responds to frequencies between 20 hertz and 20 kilohertz, because of how the hair cells in our cochlea vibrate.

  • Full-sized human voices fall between 85 and 255 hertz, but my inner ear is so small, I can't hear anything less than maybe four or five hundred hertz.

  • And even if my tiny lungs could move enough air for an audible sound wave, my itty-bitty vocal cords must be ringing at 20 kHz or higher. If only there was a dog around.

  • I am cold. Really cold.

  • Well, I'm about a hundred times shorter, which means I've got about ten thousand times less surface area, and a million times less volume to make body heat.

  • I'll have to eat like a hummingbird down here just to keep from freezing to death. I wonder where that popcorn went?

  • Come to think of it, I don't know why I'm still conscious.

  • The hemoglobin in my blood is probably smaller than the oxygen molecules it needs to carry to keep me alive.

  • I'm sure there's a perfectly good explan...

  • Man, that Szalinski machine should be illegal!

  • Actually, I'm pretty sure I just broke several laws of physics.

  • Shrinking someone shouldn't be possible. If that beam were capable of destroying atomic matter, it would have looked more like this.

  • But what if it removed the empty space in my atoms?

  • The nucleus holds more than 99% of an atom's mass, but it's 100,000 times smaller than an atom is wide.

  • In other words, if an atom was the size of the Big Apple, the nucleus would be just an apple.

  • Problem is, this isn't how atoms really work.

  • Electrons aren't exactly anywhere, at any moment. We can't predict for certain where one will be orbiting.

  • If we go looking for it, quantum mechanics says there's a high probability the electron will be orbiting here compared to, say, here, but there's some chance it could be anywhere.

  • Imagine a spinning fan. We know there are four blades in there, but we can't say exactly where they are.

  • But if you put your hand inside, you're definitely going to find one.

  • An electron's orbit is a cloud of places it could be, and an atom's empty space isn't really "empty" the way we normally think of it.

  • This is the weirdness of quantum probability.

  • We also can't shrink me just by pushing my atoms closer together. That would violate the Pauli Exclusion Principle.

  • Our cloud view of electrons only tells us where we'll probably find them,

  • but if we push two atoms closer together without bonding them, the higher the probability that two of their electrons would be found in the same quantum state,

  • and in this universe, that's just not allowed.

  • We could add energy and move electrons to higher cloud orbitals all on their own, but that would take pressures approaching the inside of a planet or a star.

  • Not particularly good for your health.

  • Atoms are the size they are because of the rules of the universe, and since we're made of atoms, that goes for us too.

  • But that doesn't explain what happened earlier.

  • For now, let's just keep today's experiment between us, ok?

  • Stay curious.

Oh, hey! We have something cool to show you today.

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B1 US atom hertz probability quantum empty space cloud

Could You REALLY Survive Being Shrunk?!

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/12/18
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