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Physics/Smallest Natural Engergy Source


QUESTION: For purposes of a non-academic writing project, I would like to know what the smallest and most powerful known natural energy source is. Is it an atom? Is it something else?

ANSWER: Smallest and "most powerful" are contradictory.  I'd need more context.  Obviously a supernova is far more powerful than a single atom, but much larger.  What's important here?  Do you just need something with really tiny size, like a single subatomic (unstable) particle which can decay to give energy?  Are you talking about raw power, like a supernova?  Or do you mean a usable energy source of some kind that can be harnessed?

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Let me ask the question in a different way: What is the smallest element that can produce energy?

I am writing a poem.

As in naturally-ocurring (in ridiculously microscopic quantities) element?  That would be tritium (radioactive hydrogen), unless you want to go exotic and propose positronium (bound positrons and electrons, which annihilate pretty quickly (not stable enough to use).


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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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