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Chapter 7: It's all elemental, basics of atoms.

...Sherlock settled into a worn armchair, his mind primed for absorption. He embraced the quietude, preparing to delve deeper into the mysteries that awaited him...

In this article we will give you a general overview of the basics of atoms, as a first step to understanding radon, radiation, and radioactivity.

First we need to discuss the concept of atoms, which are the smallest particles that make up matter. Atoms consist of neutrons, protons, and electrons. The nucleus, comparable to the sun in the solar system, contains protons and neutrons, collectively called nucleons. Protons are positively charged, and neutrons have no charge. Electrons, which have a negative charge, orbit the nucleus. If one atom were the size of the Houston Astrodome, its nucleus would be roughly the size of a pea.

Houston Astrodome is large, very very large.
Houston Astrodome

Atoms are tiny building blocks that make up everything around us. Each element has its own special set of atoms that act and behave in the same way as that element. Democritus, an ancient Greek philosopher, introduced the idea of atoms as indivisible units. Dmitri Mendeleev, a Russian chemist, developed the periodic table of elements, which organizes elements based on their properties.

Atoms are arranged on the periodic table according to their atomic number. The atomic number of an element represents the number of protons in its nucleus. Chemical reactions occur at the atomic level, where atoms interact with each other. Radioactive properties and chemical properties of atoms are influenced by the particles in the nucleus and the electrons in the outer orbits, respectively.

Sherlock's Home Inspectors and the basics of atoms
Sherlock learning about atoms.

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