What Is An Atom And How Do We Know?

Ever wonder how we actually know that atoms exist? Here we'll learn what atoms are and exactly how scientists went about figuring all of this out.

Subjects: Chemistry

Overview

Ever wonder how we actually know that atoms exist? Here we’ll learn what atoms are and exactly how scientists went about figuring all this out.

Play the Bond Breaker game here

Read about one of the CaSTL research center’s “light shrinking” experiments.

For Teachers

The content of this video meets criteria in the following Disciplinary Core Ideas defined by Next Generation Science Standards. Use our videos to supplement classroom curriculum.

Contributors

Our videos benefit from guidance and advice provided by experts in science and education. This animation is the result of collaboration between the following scientists, educators, and our team of creatives.

Advisors
  • Ara Apkarian, PhD
  • Danielle Watt, PhD
  • David O. Conover, PhD
  • Eric Potma, PhD
  • Eric T. Parker, PhD
  • Johana Revel, PhD
  • Joonhee Lee, PhD
  • Suhail Alhejji
  • Tom Cochran
  • Venkat Bommisetty, PhD
  • Wilson Ho, PhD
Team
  • Jon Perry
  • Anthony Danzl
  • Jordan Collver
  • Tyler Proctor

Corrections

In this video we state that Jabir ibn Hayyan was Arabian, but there is uncertainty about this among historians. He may have been Persian. Like many influential people of his time, his story is almost mythical, with multiple origins being found in historical writings.

Also, he never used a Bunsen burner (which is what we erroneously drew him using) that wasn’t invented until 1856. Jabir likely burnt wood or other solid fuels to heat his reactions.

Transcript