How do atoms and its components become the tangible things we feel at the human scale if they’re not tangible at the atomic level (and have weird properties like the particle wave duality)?

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Is there any explanation as to how the interaction between atom components then atoms then molecules and then macrostructures like a tree are so different from one another even though they have the same components?

In: Physics

A singular atom is too small for humans to touch. A lot of atoms connected together in different shapes make up the physical objects we touch.

We’re just huge bubbles of atomic mist interacting with other bubbles of atomic mist. Think of the way magnets can stick together, but they can also repel other magnets without actually touching. Basically that’s how we interact with matter. We don’t *really* touch atom-to-atom. Our bubbles just kind of mess with others.

the same way you may not feel a single grain of sand on your hand but will feel it if there is a whole pile of them. atoms are far far smaller than sand but the same principle applies.

Atoms mostly bond to each other by their electron clouds and charges to form molecules. Molecules bond together or interact with each other mostly in the same way, except since the molecule is bulkier, its size has a larger influence (steric hindrance).

Larger molecules, like polysaccharides and lipids, are larger chains of small molecules, bonded end-on-end to make a single, very large molecule. These are affected more by steric hindrance, since they are much larger than their component molecules.

Macromolecules like proteins are made up of tons of atoms/molecules all bonded together. Macromolecular interaction is mainly governed by their shape; since they are so massive, their bulk plays a huge (heh) part in how they can move and interact. There are substructures within proteins, such as alpha helices and beta-sheets that define some of the protein’s shape. Many proteins are only “reactive” in certain locations and with certain other shapes. This is where you get the most differentiation between atomic/molecular interaction, since protein shape is complex enough that they can almost “choose” what to react with.

Past proteins, you get to cells, which are huge bundles of tons of associated proteins, lipids, polysaccharides, etc. Cells are where you get the basics of “purpose” in terms of atomic structure/interactions. Cells, having DNA, can “code” to produce specific proteins that are beneficial to the cell or to the cell’s function. They can self-regulate their internal space to keep themselves protected from the exterior environment. They can actively make and expend chemical energy to do work. They can self-regulate their own functions to prolong their own existence. And they can almost all reproduce, consuming external material to create new cells, making order out of chaos.

Once you have cells that are capable of having a purpose, the rest is just expanding that. If you can program a cell to do one specific task, along with a bunch of other cells that do their own task, with each cell being supported by the other cells, then you can have a multicellular organism. Repeat this process over and over again, adding additional layers of organization/control, and you get to complex organisms like people and plants.

Think of it like an inflated inner tube; It’s made from a clump of rubber that would sink in water, but the rubber is stretched out from itself (by a force, air pressure) that affects its volume when you touch it (not to mention buoyancy).

It’s the force of the relationships between atoms, which holds them apart from each other as much as it also holds them in place together, which is the actual tangible experience at the macro level… and not the individual atoms themselves.

1. Decoherence. When multiple particles interact with each other, their properties are linked together, because not every possible combination of properties are possible. This makes it very unlikely for a single particle’s different state to interact among themselves, destroying the wave properties.

2. Statistics. When considered the system as a whole, a lot of macroscopic properties (which we observe) are averaged effect of a lot of microscopic properties, so the total outcome has a lot less variance.

3. Entanglement. When an object is being seen in a typical condition, it had already interacted with itself and with the environment for a long time. This causes a huge amount of entanglement, including a lot of entanglement with YOU, the observer. A different state of the tree would be be linked to a different state of you, and a different state of the everything around it.

>How do atoms and its components become the tangible things we feel at the human scale if they’re not tangible at the atomic level?

Well the definition of “tangible” comes into play. The typical defintion of “you can touch it” doesn’t quite translate here. Because you never actually touch electrons or protons. It’s the weak and strong forces of the atoms exerting force upon neighboring atoms when they’re close enough. For all intents, that’s what “touching” really is. You can touch a book as much as you can touch an atom. A book is just a bunch of atoms.

>(and have weird properties like the particle wave duality)?

Not actually a problem when it comes to man-handling atoms. Wave-forms collapse when interacting with other stuff, like trying to touch it.

>Is there any explanation as to how the interaction between atom components then atoms then molecules and then macrostructures like a tree are so different from one another even though they have the same components?

Sure. It’s just scale. At the atomic scale, the weak and strong forces have fields of influence that are sizable compared to protons and electrons. At the tree scale, those forces extend such a short distances that we define a tree as existing at that border.

“How big is an electron?”

Well that depends on what you mean? The particle itself is a jumble of quarks. It’s not an infinitely small thing nor a singularity. But it’s field of influence from the 4 fundamental forces are arguably what an electron “is” and they have different sizes. The weak and strong forces that an electron exerts are…. atomically big. The EM field extends further and doesn’t really end, it just diminishes. The effects of a single electron’s gravity extends all the way to other galaxies.

Atoms don’t become anything. Atoms are just the building blocks of matter. Matter is what is tangible.