25 November, 2007

Fundamental Paradigm

Paradigms are difficult. We live so easily within them, but then sometimes they get challenged and we have a hard time talking our way out of them. I was at a party last night talking to a chemist when a child overheard us and asked what an element is (I know, a lame kind of party). How do you explain what an element is? It’s something that has been so fundamental and easy for me for so long that I was taken aback by the question. But between the chemist and I, we managed to explain it. We explained that everything around us was made up of matter, and that that matter is made up of tiny little pieces, like little miniscule balls. And then we went on that each ball has a color, and that different colors are like different elements, because a ball of a different color acts differently than another ball of another color.

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