I sympathise. How can anything be smaller than a really tight squeeze? Unfathomable. It’s interesting how our perception, which is quite useful for observing phenomena happening at our scale, gets bent over backward and whirled around when we try to apply it to either things that very very big or small (or hot or dense).
Talking about the universe with kids is a lot of fun!
There’s a pretty cool interactive dive through all the different scales of the universe to give some idea about the mind-boggling span there is in our world from tiny to huge.
Quarks and leptons – such as electrons and neutrinos – are the smallest ‘things’ found out there, only things smaller on the scale are Planck length, the hypothetical strings (lack of falsifiability makes it hard to either prove or disprove their existence – more about that in the book Not Even Wrong or the blog by its author Peter Woit), and err… quantum foam, whatever that may be. 🙂
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