Despite their minuscule size, atoms play a crucial role in literally everything around us; from the chair you sit on to the air you breathe. It’s easy to forget how amazing these microscopic particles really are. Therefore, a list of 10 facts about atoms, the building blocks of everything.

A human hair is approximately 500,000 atoms wide

small as hair

Hairs seem narrow, but compared to atoms, that’s quite substantial. An average human hair is namely 500,000 atoms wide. This figure is derived by dividing the average diameter of a human hair, which is about 50 micrometers, by the diameter of a typical carbon atom, which measures about 0.1 nanometer. This gives a new perspective on what we consider ‘small’.

There are more atoms in a human body than stars in the universe

stars in the universe
ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2 – DSS2/CC BY-SA 3.0

The human body is a cosmos in itself, with more atoms than there are stars in the entire universe. This fact alone puts our own complexity into an awe-inspiring perspective. With an estimated number of 7×10^27 atoms in our body, according to a study published in the “Journal of Biological Chemistry”, this number is many times greater than the estimated 10^22 to 10^24 stars in the observable universe.

An atom is thousands of times larger than its own nucleus

Although atoms are extremely small, the nucleus is even smaller. If an atom were as large as a stadium, then the nucleus would only be the size of a small ball. This incredible scale ratio highlights how much empty space there actually exists within the matter surrounding us. This analogy helps to illustrate the quantum mechanical nature of matter, where the nucleus, consisting of protons and neutrons, is surrounded by a cloud of electrons occupying a relatively huge volume compared to the nucleus itself.

It is plausible that you share up to 200 billion atoms with Albert Einstein


Due to the constant cycle of atomic exchange over time, it is very well possible that we share atoms with historical figures such as Einstein. According to research conducted in the field of biogeochemical cycles, atoms undergo a complex journey through ecosystems, water, air, and organisms, making this exchange possible.

98% of your atoms are replaced each year

Our body is a constant construction site where atoms come and go. Each year, no less than 98% of the atoms in our body are replaced.

Weight loss occurs when you exhale carbon atoms

When we lose weight, we literally exhale the excess carbon atoms that were formerly part of our fat molecules. This process of metabolic conversion, where fat molecules are converted into carbon dioxide and water.

Only half of the atoms in your body are from this galaxy

The atoms that form us have traveled an incredible journey through time and space, with about half coming from outside our own Milky Way galaxy. This claim is based on research into galactic chemical evolution, which shows that the atoms in our body could have been formed in different galaxies before being transported to the Milky Way through galactic winds and fusion processes.

Graphene is one atom thick and incredibly versatile

Graphene, a material that is only one atom thick, showcases the incredible strength and versatility that atoms can offer. This ‘wonder material’, discovered in 2004, consists of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. The unique electrical, mechanical, and thermal properties of graphene have the potential for revolutionary applications in technology and science, from super-strong materials to ultra-conductive components and even in the development of new forms of energy storage.

The estimated number of atoms in the universe is a number you have never heard before

The total number of atoms in the known universe, estimated between 10^78 and 10^82, is so vast that it far exceeds our imagination. This estimate is derived from cosmological observations and theoretical models that take into account the average density of matter in the universe.

All of humanity could be compressed to the size of a sugar cube if we removed the empty space in atoms

Lastly, perhaps the most astounding fact: if you could remove all the empty space within atoms, you could compress the entire humanity to the size of a sugar cube. This concept highlights the quantum mechanical reality that atoms are largely empty space, with the mass concentrated in the extremely small nucleus. Compressing all matter to just these nuclei would yield a density comparable to that of neutron stars, giving us an idea of the extreme nature of physical reality on the quantum scale.

Radiating with a chic, girly charm, Chloe brings a fresh and vibrant perspective to the latest trends in the beauty world and the glitz of the cinema. Her passion for makeup artistry and film analysis shines through in her engaging and informative articles. With a keen eye for aesthetic and storytelling, Chloe offers her readers insider tips, thoughtful reviews, and a touch of glamour in every piece.

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