A Brief History of Time

A Brief History of Time

by

Stephen Hawking

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on A Brief History of Time can help.
The base component of matter, comprising a nucleus of neutrons and protons, which is orbited by electrons. The electromagnetic force holds the particles in the atom together.

Atom Quotes in A Brief History of Time

The A Brief History of Time quotes below are all either spoken by Atom or refer to Atom. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bantam edition of A Brief History of Time published in 1988.
Chapter 5 Quotes

We now know that neither the atoms nor the protons and neutrons within them are indivisible. So the question is: what are the truly elementary particles, the basic building blocks from which everything is made?

Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:
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Atom Term Timeline in A Brief History of Time

The timeline below shows where the term Atom appears in A Brief History of Time. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
This has helped scientists to understand the atom. At first atoms were seen as mini solar systems, with a nucleus orbited by other... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...practice it is too difficult for calculating the movement of anything more than a simple atom. (full context)
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
...and as such needs to be integrated into quantum mechanics. Just as the idea of atoms collapsing was wrong, so too might be ideas of singularities. Scientists need to unify these... (full context)
Chapter 5
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The Danger of Stubbornness  Theme Icon
...could be divided and divided again infinitely. Fellow Greek philosopher Democritus disagreed and believed in atoms. (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...explained the random movement of dust in liquid was caused by the dust and liquid atoms colliding. J. J. Thompson at Cambridge had already proven the existence of electrons, and later... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
James Chadwick discovered the neutron (which has no charge) made up the nucleus of an atom along with the previously discovered proton, and later won the Nobel Prize for his discovery. (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...and positive, they repel each other, while opposite charges attract each other. On the small, atomic scale, electromagnetic forces dominate all activity. This force arises from the exchange of photons. Real... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
The fourth type is the strong nuclear force. This holds the atom together. The gluon, a particle of spin 1, carries this strong nuclear force and interacts... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...does not obey symmetry P. This was proven true by Chien-Shiung Wu, who caused radioactive atoms to spin in a magnetic field, first one way then the other. More electrons were... (full context)
The Search for a Unifying Theory of the Universe Theme Icon
...yet incorporated gravity. But gravity is a weak force and doesn’t factor much on the atomic scale. Yet, because its effects build up, for large structures, gravity wins out, which is... (full context)
Chapter 6
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...in on itself under its own gravity—usually it is mostly hydrogen. The increasing number of atomic collisions taking place as the gas contracts causes it to heat up. Soon, it there... (full context)
Chapter 7
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...they could provide immense power. It would be the size of the nucleus of an atom but with the mass of a mountain. One could orbit it round the earth, after... (full context)
Chapter 8
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...escape the strong nuclear force and began to form into the nuclei of heavy hydrogen atoms, followed by atoms of heavier elements. George Gamow first proposed this model with Ralph Alpher... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...be stronger than particles’ energy to escape it, drawing more particles together to form more atoms. In denser than average regions of the universe, the gravitational force of this clumping matter... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...into smaller clouds and collapse, due to their own gravity. Contraction would force collisions between atoms, raising the particles’ temperature, starting nuclear fusion reactions. This would transform hydrogen into helium, creating... (full context)
Chapter 11
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...first arose in the 1960s, to describe the strong nuclear force. Small particles in the atom were waves on a string, and the nuclear forces between them were strings that formed... (full context)
Human Curiosity and Ingenuity Theme Icon
...sun itself would be unstable because its own gravity might not hold it together, and atoms would face the same instability. (full context)