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Marcus Chown


11 Of The Craziest Things About The Universe: 'The Matchbox That Ate A Forty-Ton Truck' (PHOTOS)

Posted: 06/29/2010 7:37 am

I'm a science writer and, as a science writer, I am constantly amazed at how much stranger science is than science fiction; how much weirder the Universe we find ourselves in is than anything we could possibly have invented. Here are my "Top 11 Bonkers Things About the Universe":

The entire human race would fit in the volume of a sugar cube
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This is because matter is incredibly, mind-boggling empty. An atom, the basic building block of matter, is like a miniature Solar System with electrons orbiting a “nucleus” like planets circling the Sun. But the nucleus at the center is incredibly tiny compared with the orbits of the electrons. This means that, if you squeezed all the empty space out of all the atoms in all the people in the world, you could fit the entire human race in the volume of a sugar cube. You and me and everyone else are 99.9999999999999 per cent empty space!
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Find out more in Marcus Chown's latest book, "The Matchbox That Ate A Forty-Ton Truck: What everyday things tell us about the universe" (FSG). Formerly a radio astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Marcus is cosmology consultant of the weekly science magazine, "New Scientist".


Follow Marcus Chown on Twitter: www.twitter.com/marcuschown