Science

  • Issue 85 / January - February 2012



    Are We Big Enough to Be Arrogant?

    Nuri Balta

    A small-scale blueprint of the universe, the human body is a miraculous work of art that manifests the beautiful divine names and attributes of God Almighty. A human body is made up of a set of hierarchically organized components: an organ system, organs, tissues, cells, organelles, macromolecules, molecules, atoms, neutrons, protons, electrons, and subatomic particles. In this biological organization, it is striking to observe a proportionately allocated space between components on each level for their efficient functioning. The size of human body would be reduced if these spaces between organs, tissues, cells, and atoms could be removed, and the entire human body would not be bigger than a small ball.

    The structure of an atom explains a lot concerning the real size of our body, which is filled with space. An atom is comprised of protons and neutrons in its nucleus, around which electrons continuously orbit. The mass of neutrons is almost equal to the mass of protons. Electrons, however, are 1,837 times smaller in mass than neutrons and protons. That is, almost 99.95% of the atom's mass is in its nucleus. The mass of electrons is almost non-existent compared to the nucleus.

    Both the universe and our body are filled with more hydrogen than any other atom. In each one billion atom in our body, six hundred thirty million are hydrogen atoms. In a hydrogen atom, electrons rotate only 0.53 nm (one billionth of a meter) away from the nucleus, which makes the atom's volume to be around 6.10-28m3, whereas the volume of the proton is 7.10-45m3, i.e., the nucleus is only as big as one hundred quadrillionth (100.1015) of the atom's total volume. In other words, while the nucleus comprises almost the entire mass of the atom, its volume is of no considerable size. The density of protons in the nucleus is 2,3x1017 kg/m3, which means that there is around a hundred trillion tons of matter in only one cubic meter. If we could gather all neutrons and protons in one spot, a man who is 69 kg would be only 3.10-7 mm3 in volume. That is, the volume the total substance of our body takes up is around one ten millionth of a cubic millimeter. The human body, which is constructed of atoms with electrons rotating on an orbit quite far away from the nucleus, is in a way no different than an "inflated space." For a comparison, the space between the earth and the sun can be filled with as many as 107 suns, whereas 450 thousand protons are needed to fill up the distance between the proton and electron in a hydrogen atom.

    The subatomic world is even more amazing. In subatomic particles are found six types of quarks. A quark is considered a fundamental constituent of matter. Combinations of quarks in different shapes and numbers result in subatomic particles, the further combinations of which produce atoms, molecules, and so on. Quarks are considered to be without mass; that is to say, they are nothing else but energy. Humans have mass, but this mass consists of quarks that are without mass.

    This incredibly vast space between atoms that make up matter teaches us that our true value does not lie in our physical structure, but in the artworks of no comparison designed by the Divine as manifestations of His most beautiful names. Thus, we, who are so little in material substance, should seek other gateways in the depth of our souls and attain some value with proximity to the Divine.

    We may never have revolted against God Almighty in our entire life; yet still our material minority should free us from all kinds of pride and conceit. Our physical structure is very much like the number "zero," for 0 is also nothing, and it is drawn by inflating.

    Nuri Balta is the Head of Physics department at Samanyolu Schools in Turkey. He is also pursuing a PhD degree in Physics at Middle Eastern Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.

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