Concerning the Nature of Things
In this book, Bragg reduces the complexities of science to the most common language; indeed, the book is a physical science primer; yet, it contains considerable information not familiar to the majority. Bragg’s dissertation requires no scientific background of readers, even while investigating the complex nature, dimension, energy incentives, and attraction between particular atoms—especially the propensity of molecules to grow into more complex conglomerates and in a predictable fashion.
First, as ancient Alchemist, now in learned physical science and advanced biochemistry, mankind endeavors to harness atoms to his own specification and thus to special needs. Hydrocarbon fuels are a prime example; for here, in the world of atom bonding, crude oil can be refined into ethylene, hexahydrobenzene, naphthalene, etc., simply by addition or removal of carbon-hydrogen attachments. Therefore, we can understand how the simplest molecule (bonding between two or more atoms) can be transformed into more complex forms in the presence of light, temperature, and pressure.
Ben Winter would suggest the presence of ‘atom intellectuality,’ in the propensity of molecular development to inhere attraction to its benefit; for, without question, each human body cell (through atom covalence and molecular interaction) communicates with its neighbor cells for mutual survival and programs its own cellular existence independent of any contribution from sentient cognizance in its host. However, this observation is beyond Bragg’s intent; for he would address laboratory procedures to determine the mass and number of different elements and therefore the element’s basic properties—not neglecting atom propensity to seek beneficial bonding with other atoms. Bragg continues: “For, of course, it is in their combinations that their importance lies. The atoms may be compared to the letters of the alphabet, which can be put together into innumerable ways to form words. So the atoms are combined in equal variety to form what are called molecules.”
From radioactive measurement of the different elements, Sir William posits the atoms to be so minute as to require measurement in the 1/100,000,000th cm. To further elucidate atom smallness, the electron size is posited to be approximately 1/10,000th of the nucleus. If the reader has some interest “Concerning The Nature Of Things,” then Sir William Bragg’s book is recommended as a primary introduction to physical science; here, those with interest can investigate the most fundamental nature of atoms in gases, liquids, crystals, and metals. This book is recommended for novitiate and scholar alike.
We, as humans, are but a mass of atomic compounds; our body cells and substrates contain intelligence able to propagate their own survival; and surely, we, intellectually endowed by atomic interaction, would be curious about the intelligence independently committed to sustain our composite intellectuality.