The World of Atoms - Philosophy of Presentation
The fundamental nature of our physical universe is now understood in ways
that unify our daily perceptions and provide fascinating predictions for future
exploration. In contrast, the traditional methods of teaching physics have
retraced the historical steps by which false models were first proposed and then
rejected. Unfortunately this inductive "voyage of discovery" approach invariably
stops short of putting the complete picture together, and makes physics appear
to be a large number of disconnected pieces in a multidimensional jigsaw puzzle.
Modern concepts are added as if they were paradoxical, making it appear that
nothing is really as it seems. In reality, everything is exactly as it
seems, if one starts with a correct world view.
An alternative deductive approach will be presented here which begins with a
unified (and, initially, exotic) conceptual model for the universe. This model
provides a cognitive basis to imagine and describe the various interactions of the
very large and the very small, the very near and the very distant, the very fast
and the very slow, in the present, past, and future. However, an essential
aspect of this approach is to abandon our reliance on the instantaneous
positions, speeds, and accelerations. We can replace these quantities (to great
advantage) by a "dwell-time pattern" that specifies instead where an object
spends the most time and where it spends the least time (much like a
photographic time exposure that stands still, yet captures the essence of
Among other considerations, the following questions will be
1. How big are things?
2. How small are things?
3. How many things are there?
4. How do things change?
5. How do things stay the same?
6. Are things distorted by the way we perceive them?
7. How can we think about things so that all of this makes sense?