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Physics/Empty space of atoms

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Question
If atoms are mostly empty space what keeps me from falling through them to the center of the Earth? What keeps my particles from not just going through the empty space of atoms on my floor?

Answer
Atoms are not really mostly empty space.  I'm not sure why you hear that a lot, but I remember hearing it from some time in middle school.  Most of an atom's space is filled with electron wavefunction.  When you press atoms together, they polarize and repel.  The everyday forces you're familiar with are (with the exception of gravitation) electromagnetic in nature.  That's what keeps you from falling through the Earth.

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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

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

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