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How small is small? -

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How small is small?




Ever had one of those days where you feel small and insignificant? Well take heart, there are
plenty of things smaller than you. For instance, an ant is four millimetres long. But that's not so

The smallest particle visible to the naked eye is a tenth of a millimetre. Beyond the scope of the
naked eye, white blood cells are just ten micrometres across. And red blood cells are even smaller
- below a millionth of a metre, and we are approaching nano-land, where really small stuff is
measured in nanometres. The groove on a CD is a hundred and twenty nanometres deep, while DNA is
just three nanometres thick. Smaller still, a carbon atom is a mere seventy picometres, while a
quark, not to be confused with a quack, at one femtometre, is a million times smaller than a

Anything smaller can be measured in attometres, zeptometres, yoctometres. But our smallest
available yardstick is known as the Planck Length. Which, incidentally, has nothing to do with

So the next time you're feeling small, try measuring yourself in Planck Lengths, and you might just
feel like a giant.