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what happens when you go smaller than an atom?

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i have many different theories and answers to this question but i want an accurate answer and everywhere i look its unreliable
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It's impossible to GO SMALLER. There is no shrink ray invented yet. What do you suggest is smaller than an atom?

I mean, fictionally, if you go smaller than an atom, you might go to an alternate universe, or you could explode.

I mean, nyaa, what theories do you have? And how do you actually GO smaller?
Originally posted by Luca
It's impossible to GO SMALLER. There is no shrink ray invented yet. What do you suggest is smaller than an atom?

I mean, fictionally, if you go smaller than an atom, you might go to an alternate universe, or you could explode.

I mean, nyaa, what theories do you have? And how do you actually GO smaller?

i think alternate universe or explosion or you enter into nothingness and im not sure how you go smaller than an atom
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technically protons/neutrons/electrons are smaller than atoms. then there are particles even smaller than those.

if the universe is infinitely large, then you can go infinitely small.

ok thank you :)
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If you could shrink down to the size of an atom (presumably by shrinking the size of all of your atoms), you would die, if not by asphyxiation (all the air molecules are now bigger than your body) then by blunt force trauma, either by said air molecules or, if you're lucky, a stray photon (dying from the air molecules would likely take a few more hits).
I read that a Planck length is the smallest unit of measurement and the smallest possible size for anything in the universe. I have no idea how it's possible that something can be so small it literally cannot get any smaller.
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That's got to be impossible,
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Besides, you will be to small to be measured with a ruler.
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Who is to say that we are not smaller than the 'atoms' of a different Universe? Who can deny the possibility that if one were to shrink to a size smaller than an atom, one would not find sentient nanobacteria with cities, wars, and natural disasters caused by swarms of photons and what we consider particles of air? Who is to say that we ourselves are not a similar breed of nanobacteria affected by the 'atoms' and 'particles' in a Universe much bigger than us?

With every step we take, we may not be aware that we are crushing Universes and killing googolplexes of innocent, thinking beings? And who is to say that this world could well end tomorrow when some fat kid farts in a Universe a googolplex times the size of our own?
lol blunt force trauma, I never considered what those 500m/s particles (on average) would *do* to you if you were tiny. Of course, given they collide like 5 trillion times in a single second...

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Well, according to Quantum Physics, there's a smallest meaningful distance, the Planck length, as mentioned previously in the thread.

Now, a somewhat oversimplified explanation:

Imagine that the entire universe is just a potentially infinitely large computer monitor. Every star, every planet, every object, every atom, every quark; they're all just stuff drawn on the monitor. However, if you walk up to the monitor and look at it with a magnifying glass, you may notice that, while it seems to be infinitely large, it's not infinitely detailed. The magnifying glass reveals that it's made out of pixels. So, you look at a particle moving extremely slowly. It appears to be completely still, then suddenly, it moves a pixel to the left, stops for a bit again, then moves another pixel to the left. Of course, this is the only way it can move really slow, seeing as it's impossible to move "one millionth of a pixel" or whatever, since pixels are the smallest units possible on this screen.

(If you're going to be nitpicky and point out that pixels are made out of smaller components, subpixels, and start mentioning anti-aliasing and stuff, you've clearly missed the point of this metaphor.)

So, according to quantum physics, the Planck length is sort of the "pixel size" of the universe. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that there isn't something smaller than a Planck length, only that "sub-Planck lengths" are meaningless in terms of physics and science.

In other words, IF there are smaller distances, it's a physical impossibility to measure them, no matter how advanced any future microscope/whatever ever gets. Thus, for all intents and purposes, it's the smallest unit that it'll ever make sense to talk about.

Luckily, the Planck length is reeeeeeally freaking small, so it hopefully won't become too much of a problem. Let's take something really small, say the thickness of a human hair. According to some quick calculations, that's still around 3 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 Planck lengths wide.

So yeah. Really tiny.
Oh right, a couple things I forgot to mention about your death at the subatomic level.

First, at the subatomic level, you are in a vacuum. Because of this, your blood and all of the liquids inside of your body will instantly start to boil and your lungs would turn to mush. All of your organs would begin to swell to multiple times their normal size. The boiling blood in your eyes would be particularly troublesome, causing your eyeballs to expand and eventually burst.

Secondly, depending on your size related to the atoms, there's a chance that your body would be slowly ripped apart by the tidal forces created by the (now giant) atoms and molecules around you.

Next to a black hole, this may be the worst possible way to die.

Honestly, I think you'd be praying for the sweet release of death that would be provided to you from the blunt force trauma created by all the particles smashing into you.
Reminds me of that one episode of Star Trek: Deep Space 9 where the spatial anomaly of the week causes a shuttle with a few people on it to shrink down to a few centimeters. In order to be able to leave the ship, they first have to beam their own air to the outside, as regular air atoms are too large for their lungs to handle.
There was actually ans episode of Star Trek Voyager in which the crew is briefly shrunk down to subatomic size. They are almost killed from an onslaught of photons.
Originally posted by clglick
i have many different theories and answers to this question but i want an accurate answer and everywhere i look its unreliable

According to String Theory everything, including all particles are actually made up tiny strings. Some of them are open others are closed and they can adopt the role of any subatomic particles depending upon how the strings vibrate.

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Well an atom is made up of a nucleus (protons and neutrons) and electrons and protons and neutrons are made of quarks. There are 6 different flavors of quarks (up, down, top, bottom, strange and charmed) and how the quarks are made up create baryons such as protons and neutrons. At this scale, Classical Physics breaks down and is superseded by Quantum Mechanics (which is truly the way nature works to begin with, but it approximates Classical Physics at the right scales). There is now a wave/particle duality and things like position and momentum cannot be measured at the same time due to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. The easiest atom to understand is the hydrogen atom, which consists of a proton and an electron. If a photon (the quanta of light) with energy over 13.6 eV interacts with the hydrogen atom, it ionizes it leaving only a proton. Other atoms could be ionized to the last electron and be "hydrogen-like" in nature. These are the easiest atomic systems to model since although its fundamentally wrong the Bohr model can describe hydrogen and "hydrogen-like" ions
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Well, according to an episode of Johnny Test, you might go to another dimension( But then again, it's a cartoon; so we don't know for sure. ).
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