Atomic size question

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SteveCNC

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Something I have ponderred for many years and maybe I read it as a kid somewhere but I have never seen it debated so I figured why not toss it around here and see what some of you think about it.

Now we all know that everything is made up of atoms and that different atoms have different sizes etc ... My question is - how could we tell if the orbital diameter of atoms is still the same as it was a billion years ago ? For instance if the strong nuclear force were slowly overcoming the electrostatic repulsive force and thereby changing it's orbital diameter making all atoms change in size as the energy is slowly depleted . Anything you attempt to measure the size change is also changing in size . It wouldn't have to change much considerring how many atoms make up a planet to make a huge difference in size overall .

I deal with 3d cad/cam systems all day at work and understand how scaling works and you may come back with well if atomic structure were changing size we could tell by the distance from one object to another changing , but here everything is connected thru one way or another but in space we aren't ? hmm with a small adjustment to orbital theory planets could be spiralling in at a similar rate I suppose And we are connected thru gravity to the sun . One thing I see in that theory would be that galaxies would seem to be flying away from each other at an accelerated rate .

Just call it one of my wierd theories lol :ugeek: , I chalk it up to the fact that when I was a kid about 10 years old I started reading books like "One Two Three Infinity" and "Albert Einstein" among others .

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Kessy

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That's a really good question, Steve, and actually there has been a good amount of effort put into determining if the laws of physics in general have remained constant over time. The short answer is that as far as we can tell, all the laws of physics have changed very little, if at all, since soon after the big bang. The thing is that if you start changing things, such as the strength of electromagnetism, you'll wind up effecting a lot more then just the size of atoms. Most importantly it would change the way the fusion reactions in stars work, and since by looking at very distant stars we're also looking back in time, we'd see those differences.

On a slightly nitpicky note, the strong force doesn't actually have anything to do with the size of electron orbitals around atoms - that's determined by electromagnetism and quantum mechanics. The strong force is what holds quarks together in protons and neutrons, and holds protons and neutrons together in a nucleus. By the time you get as far away as the electrons, the strong force from the nucleus is vanishingly small.

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SteveCNC

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Well Atomic structure was never my strong suit back in college and it has been about 30 years ago heh , Anyway the reason I question our methods of measurement and have always kinda searched for a reasonable explanation to whats observed as far as other galaxies always moving away from earth . It seems like for that to happen there would almost have to be something wrong in our observations and the most logical is that our system of measure is somehow changing. But it got me to thinking about how much space is in an atom that's just empty and how very little it would have to change to have an affect on extremely large measurements . I know as a machinest that has worked with pretty much every kind of material there is , some things change drastically just from 80f in the shop to 68f in inspection. And so I have always searched for a plausable way for atomic structure to slowly change over time even if an infinitesimal amount would be huge if measuring something in light years . However I have heard that the expansion is accelerating but I have not heard any kind of numbers as to how much . Would be great to know , I could crunch a few numbers and see what it looks like .

I have figured out a way to measure the change if there is one though , since a neutron shouldn't be effected by any size change depending on the accuracy needed it might be possible to measure one and say 5 years later measure it again and you might see a change if my odd theory is correct although from what I have seen published so far the accuracy isn't near good enough for a short term of only 5 years but 50 or 100 maybe.

True knowledge comes not from knowing all the answers , but from knowing the right questions.

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