The Profound Simplicity – I’ve listed the elements in their order of Z, the atomic numbers. That’s not unusual. It’s just a list that I’m sure many have seen before. But, until recently, I hadn’t really appreciated its profound significance! It’s not just a list of the elements. It’s a list that shows the beautiful simplicity involved in the way OSAU has assembled, and continues to assemble itself with its building blocks of atomic nuclei and their atoms! This list is so profound I predict it will have a transforming effect on those who have processed it. I believe the process will affect how one thinks about their own existence on this planet and their own amazing place in OSAU, Our Self-Assembling Universe. At the very least, I believe that assimilating the meaning of the list can be a revelation and mind-blowing experience for all those that take the time to think about it. That’s certainly been the case for me!
The list procedes as follows: One proton is hydrogen, two protons is helium, three protons is lithium, four protons is beryllium, 5 boron, 6 carbon, 7 nitrogen, 8 oxygen, 9 fluorine, 10 neon, 11 sodium, 12 magnesium, 13 aluminum, 14 silicon, 15 phosphorous, 16 sulfur, 17 chlorine, 18 potassium, 19 argon, 20 calcium, 21 scandium, 22 titanium, 23 vanadium, 24 chromium, 25 manganese, 26 iron, 27 cobalt, 28 nickel, 29 copper, 30 zinc, 31 gallium, 32?germanium, 33 arsenic, 34 selenium, 35 bromine, 36 krypton, 37 rubidium, 38 strontium, 39 yttrium, 40 zirconium, 41 niobium, 42 molybdenum, 43 technetium, 44 ruthenium, 45 rhodium, 46 palladium, 47 silver, 48 cadmium, 49 indium, 50 tin, 51 antimony, 52 tellurium, 53 iodine, 54 xenon, 55 protons is cesium, 56 protons is barium, etc., etc., etc. So beautifully simple, just one proton after another, just as simple as one, two, three, and yet, as it turns out, it’s really an ingenious and powerfully complex invention! It’s the key, essential part of the self-assembly of all of the building blocks needed to construct you and me and the entire rest of our Universe. Not only that, by taking just a few moments of one’s time, and by using just a little imagination, one can “experience” in real time, just as it occurred 13.8 billion years ago, the appearance of the first four nuclei of hydrogen, helium, lithium and beryllium as they show up in our Universe for the first time during the first twenty minutes of existence!
The Profound Complexity – Unlike the invariant atomic numbers, Z, which I just described, and that identify each atom by referring only to the number of protons in each atomic nucleus, the mass numbers, A, can be variable since they are proton-plus-neutron counts. They are numbers that are often represented as the whole numbers that follow an atom’s atomic symbol. For example C-12 is the atomic symbol for carbon followed by the number 12. This is carbon’s mass number, but this is not its only mass number! It can also be carbon-13 or carbon-14! Why is that? Because, unlike atomic numbers, mass numbers include the neutrons in an atom’s nucleus and the number of neutrons in an atomic nucleus can vary to give rise to isotopes. In the periodic table mass numbers are often avoided by giving the atom’s actual recorded mass as measured from the pure element. Thus, the numbers given are fractional numbers that represent the invariant number of protons plus a mass-weighted average of the neutrons in an atom’s nucleus. You might also find mass numbers that list an atom’s most prevalent isotope, just as I have incuded in my table listing all of the atoms according to their proton count. And you might find it interesting, as I did, that based on the measurements listed by Scientific Instrument Services Al, As, Be, Bi, Cs, Co, F, Au, Ho, I, Mn, Nb, P, Pr, Rh, Sc, Na, Tb, Th, and Y are the only elements that have just one naturally occurring isotope! The others have one or more additional isotopes and some have a lot more. In other words extra neutrons appear not to cause a big functional problem unless the extra neutrons or lack of neutrons make for unstable nuclei that form radioactive isotopes such as is the case for the beta-ray emitter, C-14, which is often used in research, versus the common C-12 isotope. In my warped quantum mechanics vernacular, neutrons increase the strong force to make it possible for protons to live next to each other. In my version neutrons act as shields or insulators that keep the repelling positively charged protons separated on the surface of spherical neutron core. Too few neutrons and the core is too small. Too many neutrons and the core creates instability for some reason. Why? I don’t know. And why some atoms have many isotopes with a number of acceptable neutron counts and mass numbers, and others have only one acceptable isotope, I haven’t, as yet, have a clue, but I aim to find out!
And find out, I just did this morning at 9 am on 9/5/16. And is it ever complicated! Pauli exclusion, shells, energy levels similar to those of electrons, spin coupling pairs, bosons, magic numbers. The bottom line, nuclei with even numbers of protons (Z numbers) are more stable and have more choice when it comes to neutron count, and, hence, can have more isotopes! But, if neutrons can stabilize an atomic nucleus by insulating or nullifying proton electrostatic-repulsion, why is there a limit to the number of neutrons found in atomic nuclei? Why do too many neutrons cause a nucleus to become unstable and radioactive? For example, C-14 has two more neutrons than C-12. C-12 is completely stable, where as C-14 is radioactive and slowly decays to N-14 by throwing off a beta-decay electron. Apparently, neutrons are themselves unstable and, without the balancing presence of the right number of protons, they can throw off electrons to transform themselves into protons! So, it seems C-14 with two extra neutrons can throw off an electron to become N-14. Might it be that a proton would pick up an escaping electron to become a compensating neutron if the proton happened to be adjacent to the electron-releasing neutron? Thus, in C-14 where there might not exist an adjacent proton neutron pair, a neutron releasing an electron could be transformed to a proton without a compensating adjacent proton to neutron transformation. Maybe that’s the way it works?
I’ve also created a periodic table that just shows the proton count for each nucleus in the position that it would occur in the table. For example, hydrogen and the alkali metals appear in the first column of the table so it kind of makes it easy to remember just how many protons are in each nucleus. H is 1 add 2 for Li and you get 3, add 8 more for Na and you get 11, add 8 more for K and you get 19, add 18 more for Rb and you get 37, add 18 more for Cs and you get 55, and 32 more for Fr and you get 87. See the pattern as one goes across the table? Makes it a little easier to see this way I think.
In my next blog I want to bring focus to the alkali metal and alkaline earth metal groups by comparing the two with my ping-pong ball models of atomic nuclei.