• Question: Everything is made of atoms, if there was a new substance made deep inside the earth's core and it weren't made of atoms what other mixture could it be made by?

    Asked by littlemisstiger to Davie, Gemma, James P, James V, Nuala on 3 Jul 2012.
    • Photo: James Verdon

      James Verdon answered on 3 Jul 2012:

      Hi littlemisstiger,

      I’m afraid it would still be made of atoms. All substances are made of atoms. The distribution of protons, neutrons and electrons inside each atom control the properties of the atom.

      The periodic table lists all possible combinations of protons, neutrons and electrons. These are the elements. There are no other possible combinations, so there can be no new elements. We can combine different elements together to form new compounds and alloys, but these are still made of atoms, just in different combinations.

      The earth’s core consists of iron and nickel at very high pressure and temperature. The inner part is solid, the outer part is liquid. However, it’s all just iron and nickel, no new substances are being created there.

    • Photo: James Pope

      James Pope answered on 3 Jul 2012:

      Hi littlemisstiger,

      As Jams V says, nothing that isn’t made by atoms exists, and all the types of atoms we have in the universe were created at the big bang.

    • Photo: Nuala Carson

      Nuala Carson answered on 4 Jul 2012:

      Hey littlemisstiger,

      Yeah as James V says everything is made from atoms, they are the building blocks for everything we can see around us (and also everything we cant see!). You will never find anything that doesnt have an atom as its base.