Some Properties of Atoms
You may think the details of atomic physics are remote from your daily life. However, consider hOw the following properties of atoms-so basic that we rarely think about them-affect the way we live in our world
Atoms are stable. Essentially all the atoms that form our tangible world have existed without change for billions of years. What would the world be like if atoms continually changed into other forms, perhaps every few weeks or every
few years? Atoms combine with each other_ They stick together to form stable molecules and stack up to form rigid solids. An atom is mostly empty space, but you can stand on a floor-made up of atoms-without falling through it.
These basic properties of atoms can be explained by quantum physics, as can the three less apparent properties that follow.
shows an example of a repetitive property of the elements as a function of their position in the periodic table (Appendix G). The figure is a plot of the ionization energy of the elements; the energy required to remove the most loosely