2100: Models of the Atom

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Models of the Atom
J.J. Thompson won a Nobel Prize for his work in electricity in gases, but was unfairly passed over for his "An atom is plum pudding, and plum pudding is MADE of atoms! Duuuuude." theory.
Title text: J.J. Thompson won a Nobel Prize for his work in electricity in gases, but was unfairly passed over for his "An atom is plum pudding, and plum pudding is MADE of atoms! Duuuuude." theory.

Explanation

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Transcript

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Discussion

No mention of the Platonic solid model? DanielLC (talk) 05:56, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

   Not yet. My favorite of those 5 is the double cube, AKA the Octahedron. Haph (talk) 06:35, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
My good sir DanielLC: I presume that Randall neglected to mention it because the first evidence-based atom theory didn't come until 1810 and John Dalton. The atom theories of the ancient Greeks were mostly philosophical posturing, in my opinion.
We seem to be missing the Acorn Atom as well. Kazzie (talk) 10:16, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
And the Ariel Atom These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 08:43, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

According to cosmology lecture notes by the astronomer Neil Trentham, mass in the universe ist 75% H (mostly 1p+0n=1) and 25% He (mostly 2p+2n=4). As He is 4 times as heavy and 3 times as seldom, there is 12 times more H than He => The ratio n/p is 1/7. We can assume that in the 538 model the statistics was done on atoms comprising few Hydrogene, e.g. only the earth's mantle. In heavier elements the ratio n/p > 1. Sebastian --172.68.110.70 07:39, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

What are the numbers? Is 173 an error for 137, the fine structure constant? Sabik (talk) 10:36, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

It reminds me of the mass of the top quark (even though the current best value is 172.44 GeV, 173, as measured at the time at Tevatron, was used as a good approximation for a long time. The latest Particle Data Group review also gives something rounding to 173) 141.101.107.174 13:55, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
Do they really need a table for explanation? wouldn't a simple list be much easier to read? in my POV (which AFAIK is shared by many here) a table with just 2 columns is not useful at all --Lupo (talk) 14:17, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
I strongly disagree: When any column except the last contains phrases of differing lengths, using a table (instead of a list presented in proportional width unformatted text) greatly increases legibility. Lists are fine for conveying a series of single items, but tables are superior for matrices with two dimensions or more.
ProphetZarquon (talk) 20:23, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
I also think that the table looks slightly out of place. At the very least it needs some additional text to link it to the explanation above, as it is not immediately obvious where the numbers come from without referring back to the comic. AlChemist (talk) 11:20, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
173 could also be referencing the fact that Z=173 is theoretically the point where the 1s orbital goes all weird. The Wikipedia article gives a good explanation. 172.68.2.76 05:46, 19 January 2019 (UTC)

The tiny bird model puzzles me completely. Is it a reference to any interim (even if obscure) scientific model or is it a completely facetious Randall's invention? Or is it a reference to something unrelated? Any ideas? -- 162.158.92.34 12:55, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

When cartoon characters are dizzy, they are often depicted with stars or birds circling their head. Since xkcd is a comic & thus shares the hand-drawn aesthetic, I presume that Randall is referencing the "Circling Birds" trope.
ProphetZarquon (talk) 20:23, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
This seems to me a joke about how the early models of the atom were incredibly uninformed regarding science that we take for granted nowadays. It's just surprising and humorous. I googled it! I so wanted it to be real! 173.245.54.25 01:47, 19 January 2019 (UTC)

The absolute scale of physical constants seldom has specific meaning. See h vs ħ (h bar). Neither is right or wrong and they can be used interchangeably (when putting the 2*pi in or removing it at the same time). The same is true for dimensionless constants. E.g. 4*pi *(h bar) = 2 *(h). So the 4*pi as dimensionless constant is as correct as 2 or any other dimensionless number, as you can rescale other constants. If you redefine some natural constants, the value 137 also changes. Most dimensionless constants can be deduced from mathematics with a known or yet unknown underlying physical theory. For example all chemical properties of elements (=chemical constants) can be calculated from the underlying physics by very complex mathematical terms. For an excursion that also mathematical constants are open for debate, see the Pi vs Tau debate. Both are correct. Sebastian --172.68.110.46 15:16, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

Any chance the 4i is a Four-eye Joke? Seems a little low brow amongst all the numbers with meaning, but maybe? Also, the square root of 2 goes back a long way in mathematical theory like the first proof that not all numbers are rational. Pevinsghost (talk) 15:30, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

Of course, in the more distant "future", we know that subatomic particles are actually science fiction tropes suspended in an amorphic field of negatively biased reviews, known as the "universally unsatisfactory" model. Nobody's entirely happy about the implications that the fundamental laws governing the nature of our reality were written largely by unpaid interns & compiled by a committee, but almost everyone agrees that it's the only explanation which matches our observational data. ProphetZarquon (talk) 20:23, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

Will merkle trees help us find reality or are they a false flag? 173.245.54.25 01:44, 19 January 2019 (UTC)

Underline error, also Tiny Bird Model

I just wanted to point out that Randall forgot to underline 1913 above the Bohr model - I'm assuming it's a mistake and has no significance to the meaning of the comic, but.

Also, regarding the tiny bird model, I think it's largely a combination of the idea that scientists really had no clue what was going on inside the atom, combined with finding tiny birds humorous. The nunchuck model does have a feasible explanation, as proposed in the article itself, but it's really no more sensible than the tiny bird model. I doubt there was any further intended meaning to it.

Avesmx (talk) 21:03, 18 February 2019 (UTC)