George Gamow and Clever Way of Presenting the Atom

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I wrote these few thoughts about the portrayal of exploring the atom in a work of legendary Russian-American physicist George Gamow’s that I came across in high school (2003 or 2004). They are pretty high level observations for the time…

“On George Gamow’s Clever Way of Presenting the Atom”

While personally I knew of the different aspects of the atom so creatively applied by George Gamow in his fine Work, those who know not of energy levels and the electrons spinning about them would be introduced to an unusual and strange new world. 

Atoms are wondrous things, often feeling incomplete, such as we are, looking for that free-floating electron to finish their outer shell. The electrons spinning around on their level, couple together. And like on a highway, another electron couple passes by besides them heading in an opposite direction. It is quite amazing to see how all Life operates on the same basic principles. So many people have already found their nucleus to cling to, but there are so many lonely valence electrons, those who can’t find a place to permanently settle down, as well.

No doubt, Gamow has devised a clever, ingenious way of presenting such a topic as atoms. To think of it as a world in itself, as it truly is, and not by separate terms, but rather thinking of the different parts as members of a whole. Memorization doesn’t work as well as teaching with application. 

Mr. Gamow demonstrates that you need not bore things down with raw, hard facts. An idea is just as valid as a fact, from certain points of view. In this case, Gamow blends the known scientific facts with imagination. If only more text books were presented in such a way. More people would understand anything much better if it were portrayed as, and I quote, “a fantastic trip into space.” Possibly that is how science fiction has become so widely popular. 

It is a shame that such works as Gamow’s are few and far between in this “technological” age. We live in a world now bogged down by technical gobbly-gook, widespread confusion of our origins, and so many conflicting New Age views. But in atoms, we can find so much harmony, along with a dash of discord, but sadly in this universe it seems that nothing can ever be perfect. But if we acted as those minuscule electrons do, we’d be quite a bit closer. 

Gamow has proved you can discover inner meaning in science. Here, he proves, you can never truly be alone in the Universe; you will always have a nucleus, somewhere or someone, to cling to.

I don’t recall which book it was, but yeah, his books were great!

~ Amelia Desertsong

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.
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