Thursday, June 26, 2008

I can ride my bike with no handlebars...

but I didn't think that I could split the atom of a molecule, since a molecule needs at least two atoms in it.

Or so I thought!

It seems that there's a disagreement on the internets over whether or not a molecule needs two atoms or just one. Some pages have dodged the issue by just saying that a molecule has as few atoms in it to guarantee the chemical properties of that unit. Even Wikipedia splits hairs, saying in one sentence that a molecule needs two atoms, but recognizes that some gases may be formed from atomic divisions of an element and that each division is a single atom classified as a molecule (such as the molecules in a noble gas such as Krypton or Argon).

However, I just think that the Flobots just didn't understand the chemistry or deliberately manipulated the truth to sound better. In any event, the verse sounds better as "and I can split the atoms of a molecule, of a molecule, of a molecule", regardless of whether or not the author was trying to foreshadow nuclear war as it is in the end stanza of the song. It doesn't matter; the song still rocks, and the rest of their album is also pretty good.

1 comment:

whatwouldmattdo said...

In this, a molecule is merely

i) a group of one or more element atoms (in the case of an elemental molecule ie O2)
ii) A group of two or more different elemantal atoms (in the case of a compound ie NaCl)

A lot of standard chemical reactions involve "splitting" of a molecule (collection of atoms), which isn't an exceptional thing.

Splitting the atom(s) itself, of a molecule, is much more difficult feat, implying some knowledge of nuclear and quantum physics.

Being able to do it with a microphone is even more impressive.