Chapter 2. Atoms and Nuclei

A complete understanding of the microscopic structure of matter and the exact nature of the forces acting is yet to be realized. However, excellent models have been developed to predict behavior to an adequate degree of accuracy for most practical purposes. These models are descriptive or mathematical, often based on analogy with large-scale processes, on experimental data, or on advanced theory.

2.1. Atomic Theory

The most elementary concept is that matter is composed of individual particles—atoms—that retain their identity as elements in ordinary physical and chemical interactions. Thus a collection of helium atoms that forms a gas has a total weight that is the sum of the weights of the individual atoms. Also, ...

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