Atoms, Molecules, and Chemical Bonds

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

It was the ancient Greeks who gave us the idea of atoms, fundamental and invisibly small particles of matter, and also the word atom, which means “uncuttable,” “indivisible.” Greek philosophers proposed that there are just four basic kinds of particles in the world—atoms of earth, air, water, and fire—and that all material things, our bodies and our foods and everything else, are built from these primary particles. The modern scientific view of matter’s invisible innards is more complicated, but also more precise and illuminating.