The next Big Thing in Little Things

imagesI was watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation many years ago in which the Enterprise was stuck in a kind of “void” with an alien ship, from which neither crew could figure out how to escape. Eventually Deanna Troi was able to communicate with the other crew and figured out that hydrogen would release both vessels if vented into space.

So how did the aliens convey what was needed?

They described a hydrogen atom as an “eye(s) in the dark, one moon circles”.

We already knew this was accurate, since a hydrogen atom has one proton and one electron, but as of May 2013, scientists are able to actually capture an image of one.

Looks a lot like a solar system or a ringed planet, doesn’t it?

It could even be said to look like an “eye in the dark, one moon circles”.

Now, consider that since a hydrogen atom is the smallest of all atoms and we can now photograph it, how long will it be before someone develops a way to capture images of the electrons, protons, and neutrons (in most cases) themselves? Or even the subatomic particles that form them?

Could you be the person to find a way?

And which would you want to photograph first?



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