Atomic Structure Quiz

What do you know about atoms?

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The Atomic Structure quiz will help you to remember the key details about atoms which are fundamental to understanding important concepts from chemistry all the way to physics. We hope this quiz will offer you a challenge and help you to learn something new!

Alongside states of matter, atomic structure is the most important topic to understand in order to move on with your overall knowledge of physics. 

What are Atoms and What is Atomic structure?

All normal matter in our universe is made of atoms. An atom’s structure has three distinct parts, protons, neutrons, and electrons. The central nucleus contains protons and neutrons whilst the electrons orbit the nucleus in shells. Each atom has the same number of protons and electrons, which makes it electrically neutral. This is because protons have a charge of +1 and electrons have a charge of -1. Neutrons do not contribute to the charge of atoms since they have a neutral or 0 charge. All atoms of a particular element have the same number of protons in their nucleus, also known as the atomic or proton number. The mass number describes the number of particles in the nucleus since the relative mass of protons and neutrons is considered to be 1. The electron, ever the outsider has an extremely small mass of 1/1835 which is often considered to be negligible or even 0 for most purposes. 

How did we Learn about Atoms over Time?

In our early atomic models, atoms were considered fundamental particles, meaning they could not be broken up into smaller parts. After the discovery of the electron, the Plum Pudding Model was contributed by J.J. Thompson who suggested that electrons were swimming in a soup or “pudding” of positively charged material. This was shown to be false when experiments led by Ernest Rutherford demonstrated that there was in fact a tiny central nucleus that had a positive charge. Later we discovered neutrons which led to the realisation that there were isotopes of elements that have different numbers of neutrons and may be unstable. These break down into different elements over time, emitting particles along the way.

What are Electrons?

The more you dig into the true nature of electrons, the more complex and ghostly they seem to be. For example, electrons surround the nucleus in theoretical shells with only a probability distribution to tell us where an electron could be at any moment in time. Electrons are both particles and waves and if you really want to learn more about electrons, maybe you should consider a career in physics or chemistry

We hope you enjoyed the Atomic Structure Quiz! If you would like to learn more about chemistry, a good place to start would be our Bonding Models Quiz where you can learn more about how atoms join together to make molecules and compounds!