How do scientists know what an atom looks like, to make a model of one?How do they know that each molecule in the scientific charts has specificprotons, neutrons, and in what orders if an atom cannot be seen? How canyou prove this?
There is no simple answer to your questions. There is no "atomic
microscope" which would allow one to look inside an atom and say, "Aha! There's 7 blue protons, 6 green neutrons, and 7 red electrons." The way
the structure of the atom was determined was by doing many experiments. Each experiment looked at a different part of the atom.
The results of all the experiments were then put together into what we call a "model". By looking at the model, scientists were able to make predictions about the way an atom should behave. More experiments showed that the atoms behaved the way the scientists predicted. This agreement between the experimental results and the predictions
based on the model is what is called "proof".
Submitted by Ashlee (Dallas, TX, USA)
(September 26, 1997)
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