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Can anyone picture an atom?

I enjoyed a recent discussion On Sky-hooks and Selfish Genes.

Towards the end I wondered whether someone who knew about such things could help replace the model of an atom as a little solar system with something less completely wrong. A couple people had some great suggestions, but as a conceptual thinker I'd love to see some more. It feels like an unacceptable gap in my understanding of science that, for me, an atom is still just a collection of facts.

In particular, what makes one example better than another? Where do these models necessarily stray from the real quantum world?

Much obliged!



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