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What are things made of?

Atoms are shown here as coloured balls, each representing a different element, clustered together.Everything in the Universe, including the air we breathe, is made up of extremely tiny building blocks called atoms. They are so small, you would not even be able to see one under a very powerful microscope. A grain of sand alone may contain over a 100 million billion billion atoms.


 
 

A diagram of inside a carbon atom. Electrons orbit the nucleus, which looks a little like a raspberry. It is actually a cluster...Read More >>A diagram of inside a carbon atom. Electrons orbit the nucleus, which looks a little like a raspberry. It is actually a cluster of protons (shown here as red balls) and neutrons (black).

Inside an atom

An atom is like a tiny ball. Inside is mostly empty space. At the centre of an atom lies its nucleus. This is made up of even smaller particles, called protons and neutrons. Whizzing around the nucleus are more tiny particles, called electrons. 

A hydrogen atom measures about one ten millionth of a millimetre across.

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