THE LITTLEST THINGS
Added on: 26th May 2015
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.
SMALLEST TEDDY BEAR
Created by German artist Bettina Kaminski this teddy bear is only 5mm tall.
SMALLEST LIVING ORGANISM
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.
SMALLEST NON-LIVING ORGANISM
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 nanometres across.
SMALLEST THING VISIBLE TO THE NAKED EYE
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.
SMALLEST OBSERVED OBJECT IN THE UNIVERSE
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.
SMALLEST HYPOTHETICAL OBJECT IN THE UNIVERSE
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.