Science: Plenty of Nothing

The more science looks at solid matter, the less solid it looks. Physicists decided long ago that matter was mostly emptiness, with atomic nuclei scattered thinly through it like stars in space and electrons orbiting around them. Last week, Dr. Robert L. Thornton of the University of California reported that even the nuclei are not very solid.

Physicists at Berkeley, said Thornton, had shot high energy (100,000,000 electron-volt) neutrons and protons through carbon and other elements. Knowing the size and number of the nuclei, they could calculate how many particles should pass through...

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