25 Smallest Things In The Universe
Posted by September 17, 2012on
Measuring in at 27 inches, Edward Nino Hernandez of Colombia has been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s smallest man.
Essentially nothing more than a phone booth, the town of Carrabelle, Florida lays claim to what used to be the world’s smallest functioning police station.
In 2006 Amillia Taylor was born as the world’s smallest premature baby after only 22 weeks of development. She was 10 ounces and 9.5 inches long.
Suffering from dyslexia and other learning disabilities, Willard Wigan never excelled in school but found solace in creating miniscule artwork that could barely be seen by the naked eye.
Created by German artist Bettina Kaminski this teddy bear is only 5mm tall.
The parasitic bacterium Mycoplasma Genitalium that inhabits the genital and respiratory tracts of primates is widely considered by scientists to be the smallest organism capable of independent growth and reproduction.
Although there is still some debate about what is considered “alive” and what isn’t, most biologists would not classify a virus as a living organism due to the fact that it cannot reproduce or metabolize by itself. A virus, however, can get much smaller than any living organism including the bacterium we just saw. The smallest is the single stranded DNA virus Porcine circovirus you see here. It is only 17 nanometers across.
The smallest objects visible to the unaided human eye are roughly .1mm long. This means that under the right conditions you would be able to see an ameoba proteus, a paramecium, and even a human egg.
Over the last century science has made both great strides into understanding the vastness of space and its microscopic building blocks. When it comes to figuring what the smallest observable particle in the universe is, however, we run up against a bit of a wall. At one point we thought they it was the atom. Then scientists discovered the proton, neutron, and electron. It didn’t stop there though. Today we know (by smashing particles together in places like the Large Hadron Collider) that these can be further broken down into even more particles like quarks, leptons, and even antimatter. The issue with trying to figure out which is smaller is that on a quantum level size becomes a bit irrelevant as the rules of physics you are used to living by begin to break down (some particles have no mass, some even have negative mass) Unfortunately, trying to answer this question is something like dividing by zero…not really possible.
Keeping in mind what we just said about the idea of size being irrelevant on a quantum level, there exists something known as string theory and although it is slightly controversial it proposes that all subatomic particles are composed of vibrating strings that interact in order to create things like mass and energy. So, although these strings would technically have no physical dimensions, according to our puny human ability to reason one could say that these strings would be in some sense the “smallest” objects in the universe.