CodeBlackv2 wrote:Xerium-525 ? You can't make an atom that big. It would fly apart. Some German scientists were trying to save their necks. Hitler was demanding progress and would shoot anyone who said it couldn't be done. Same goes for "the bell". All it did was kill scientists.
As for Bob, I just can't buy that the gov would allow him to blab. We have laws against that. And, where are the spacecraft? That's the problem with telling a whopper like this. What do you do next? It's gonna be the same with the 2012 people.
If you want to hide a secret, just have an untrustworthy person tell people about it. Just make sure he is only a useful idiot and doesn't know anything harmful.
That is a fun question and one that depends upon a couple of different
things. There are a few different answers depending upon how we
interpret what we mean by largest atom possible.
First, let us start with the largest stable atom. Typically when
scientists speak of the size of an atom it is, in one way or another, a
measure of the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons in a single
atom. As such, the heaviest stable atom we have found is a Bismuth
atom. It has 83 protons, 83 electrons, and a whopping 126 neutrons. If
we make such an atom heavier by adding protons or neutrons, it will no
longer be stable. There are heavier elements found in nature, however
once they are created (typically in the violent death of very massive
stars), they will eventually decay into lighter (and eventually more
Now... let us assume we do not care about the lifetime of the atom, just
so long as we can find it regardless of how short lived it might be. In
such cases, nuclear physicists and chemists start with already heavy
atoms and attempt to make even heavier elements and isotopes through
collisions and interactions. The heaviest atom created in such a
fashion is an isotope of element 118 : It has 118 protons and 176
neutrons and is tentatively called Ununoctium! This element is so
difficult to create that the group of scientists that discovered it only
managed to make 3 entire atoms of the substance. The atoms were
extremely short lived and found to possess a half life of less than one
The actual history of its discovery is interesting, though somewhat
embarrassing, as the "initial" discovery of the element in 1999 was
found to be based on forged and fraudulent data.
Now... There are two exotic possibilities for even larger atoms!
First, in the conventional sense of an atom, nuclear scientists have
long speculated that there are very stable nuclei possible with more
protons and neutrons. The problem is getting there in the first place.
These super stable nuclei should be possible when enough protons and
neutrons are present to fill all the available states for the nucleons
within the atom. In such cases, the atom is expected to then be quite
stable (at least compared to other heavy atoms) as it would cost a great
deal of energy to pluck any of the neutrons or protons out of it. No
one has succeeded in creating or observing such atoms.
Lastly, in some respects neutron stars seem like extremely large atoms.
They are not atoms in the conventional sense, but the extreme density of
the star means that all the nuclear material is compressed together. I
would not interpret that literally as a neutron star actually being a
giant atom, just that you can draw interesting comparisons (perhaps with
a little poetic license).