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Physics/Regarding atomic structures



Scientists say that benzene molecule is hexagonal shape with alternate double bonds. How are they saying this? Is it possible to view the molecular and structures with instruments? Is there a possibility that the atomic and molecular structures proposed by scientists is not in conformity to the reality?


We know this in two ways.  First atomic force microscopes have indeed imaged single atoms, so it's not entirely some theoretical problem.  Second, we can calculate the wavefunctions (and thereby the position densities) of electrons to ridiculous precision.  Since you're sticking with a semi-classical notion of chemical bonds and not a full quantum version, it's kind of difficult to describe, but since you're here to ask an expert I'll tell you that we can indeed predict the behavior of these molecules to the same ridiculous (many many decimal places of accuracy in things like the strength of their interaction with a particular frequency of light) and then measure it with great precision as well.  Scientists really do have a handle on chemical structures and electronic distributions in simple molecules like benzene, I'm not sure why you're questioning something that's so well established.


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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.


I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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