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Atoms to Molecules

Matter is made of particles, such as subatomic particles, atoms and molecules.

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Making Matter

Making Matter

Credit: Zyllan Fotograf?a
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zyllan/3695058341/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

By lighting a fire, humans can turn matter (the object that is burning) into energy (the fire/heat). Can humans turn energy into matter?

Why It Matters

  • You can’t make something out of nothing, so you can’t make matter out of nothing.
  • Albert Einstein theorized that matter and energy are interchangeable.
  • When matter (protons) break apart in the Large Hadron Collider, they become smaller bits of matter (the subatomic particles quarks and gluons).
  • A photon is a particle of light; light is energy.
  • Credit: U.S. Air Force Airman or employee
    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Military_laser_experiment.jpg
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    Military science experiment at the United States Air Force Research Laboratory shows a laser beam emitting photons [Figure2]

Explore More

With the link below, learn more about matter and energy. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What does the first law of thermodynamics say?
  2. Following Einstein’s logic, how can humans (or the universe) make matter?
  3. When matter and antimatter annihilate each other what is left, if anything, what is gone?
  4. How did matter and energy originate in the Big Bang?
  5. How can humans make matter from energy?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Zyllan Fotograf?a; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zyllan/3695058341/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: U.S. Air Force Airman or employee; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Military_laser_experiment.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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