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Discovery Magazine 6/1/2019

What is the Smallest Thing on Earth?

by  Digger Doug

Dear Digger Doug,

What is the smallest thing on Earth?
—Alethea Greenman, Morgantown, KY


Dear Alethea,

I really like your question, because I’ve always loved miniature things. I think teacup dogs, miniature horses, tiny models of cars, and little dish sets are so neat. Did you know there is now a copy of the entire Bible that is stored on a disc that is smaller than a pen head? The creators call it the Nano Bible. Having a copy might be fun, but you would need a microscope to read it! However, when we start talking about the smallest thing on Earth, we are going much smaller than the Nano Bible. In the past, people thought that atoms were the smallest building blocks of matter. After much study, scientists realized that even smaller bits of matter filled atoms. These “bits” include particles such as protons, electrons, and neutrons. Now we know, however, that even protons and electrons are not the smallest particles. What are the littlest ones? The problem with answering that question is that we do not have a device that can “look” into an atom to tell us. Right now, we think that the smallest particles are called quarks and leptons, but we don’t know for sure. New technology may help us find the answer to your question, but we may never know. One thing we can know for sure, however, is that God made even the smallest of the small things. As the writer of Psalms said, “Oh Lord, how many are Your works. In wisdom You have made them all” (104:24).

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