The Universe in a Teaspoon

There are 1.648×1023 mol­e­cules in 1 tsp (4.929 ml) of water. There are three atoms in a sin­gle mol­e­cule of water, mean­ing there are a stag­ger­ing 4.943×1023 atoms with­in a sin­gle tea­spoon of water.

This means there are more atoms held in that tea­spoon than there are stars in the uni­verse (3×1023 stars, accord­ing to research pub­lished in 2010 by Pieter G. van Dokkum and Char­lie Conroy).

The vol­ume of the Pacif­ic Ocean, accord­ing to the NOAA Nation­al Geo­phys­i­cal Data Cen­ter in 2010, is 1.339×1023 tsp, which is sig­nif­i­cant­ly less than the num­ber of atoms in a sin­gle tea­spoon of water.

I’m amazed that with­in some­thing as seem­ing­ly insignif­i­cant as a tea­spoon of water, there might as well be an infin­i­ty of atoms. Those atoms can them­selves be bro­ken down into sub­atom­ic par­ti­cles which can be bro­ken down still into tinier objects still, such as gluons.

The mind boggles.

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Rick Beckman