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Former featured articleAtom is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophyThis article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on July 9, 2008.
Article Collaboration and Improvement Drive Article milestones
October 17, 2007Peer reviewNot reviewed
February 9, 2008Peer reviewReviewed
February 10, 2008Good article nomineeListed
February 18, 2008Featured article candidatePromoted
October 25, 2020Featured article reviewDemoted
Article Collaboration and Improvement Drive This article was on the Article Collaboration and Improvement Drive for the week of November 21, 2007.
Current status: Former featured article


An atom is the smallest unit of ... a chemical element. A chemical element is a species of atoms ...

So an atom is a species of atoms. That is not a definition. The smallest unit of the chemical element hydrogen is the molecule H2 that consists of two atoms.

Atoms should be defined in terms of protons, neutrons and electrons. Rwbest (talk) 09:18, 12 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Rwbest: This is incorrect. A lone hydrogen atom, usually as an ion, is still hydrogen. Kurzon (talk) 10:09, 19 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I propose to delete the first sentence: "An atom is the basic unit of matter that constitutes a chemical element."
1st sentence should be a concise definition. It is not because chemical element is defined as a species of atoms ... See circular definition. Rwbest (talk) 16:36, 20 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Rwbest: This is not circular definition. A circular definition would be something like "an atom is the basic unit of a chemical element, and a chemical element is something that is made of atoms." What I wrote in the lede is that the specific chemical element that an atom belongs to is defined by the atomic number. Kurzon (talk) 17:28, 20 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"A chemical element is a species of atoms ..."
That is something that is made of atoms, right?
So the first sentence boils down to a circular definition. Rwbest (talk) 16:07, 21 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Rwbest: I think it's the first line of the chemical element article that needs rewriting. Kurzon (talk) 21:38, 21 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't think that could help.
"An atom is the basic unit of matter that constitutes a chemical element." is a historic relic. It was a definition when chemical elements were known, what atoms are made of was unknown, and it conveniently catachorises them in the Periodic Table. But when subatomic particles were identified, protons, neutrons and later quarks, the smallest or basic unit of matter was no longer an atom. Rwbest (talk) 09:52, 22 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Rwbest: An atom is the basic unit of a chemical element. It is not an elementary particle. Kurzon (talk) 14:42, 22 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The basic units of any matter are elementary particles, not atoms. Rwbest (talk) 16:13, 22 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Rwbest: You misunderstood the first line. The atom is the basic unit of matter that constitutes a chemical element. Kurzon (talk) 16:20, 22 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


What does the Greek word for atoms mean (talk) 03:04, 4 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

From our article Atom: The word atom is derived from the ancient Greek word atomos,[a] which means "uncuttable". Googling "atom etymology" gives: ...from Greek atomos ‘indivisible’, based on a- ‘not’ + temnein ‘to cut’; subsequently reinforced by Old French atome . To answer your question strictly, the Greek word for "atoms" is άτομα which is the plural form of άτομο which means "individual". Hope this helps:) --DB1729talk 04:38, 4 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


For example, the isotopes of nitrogen having atomic mass of 15 can be written as what? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:45, 27 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

nitrogen-15 Kurzon (talk) 06:28, 28 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Copyright violation[edit]

@Diannaa: Could you explain why my edit violated copyright? I'm pretty sure that stuff was my own words, not a cut-and-paste job. Kurzon (talk) 14:28, 28 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Your addition was flagged as a potential copyright issue and was assessed by myself. Here is a link to the CopyPatrol report. Click on the iThenticate link to view what was found by the detection service. The iTenticate reports are loading slowly today so you may have to wait a while, or load the page a second time to get it to load. — Diannaa (talk) 14:34, 28 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

short description[edit]

"Smallest unit of a chemical element". This confuses me bc an atom _is_ a chemical element...  AltoStev (talk) 01:29, 4 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
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