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Tuesday October 9th, 2012.docx

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Natural Science
NATS 1840
Carol Bigwood

Science, Technology and the Environment (SC NATS 1840A) - Tuesday October 9th, 2012 Readings: 3.3, 3.5, 3.6 Activity # 3 Electronic Copy of experiment to Biogeochemical Cycles The cycling of Matter & Energy in the Environment Preamble: Living organisms consume nutrients and energy to thrive.  Six “macronutrients” are constantly recycled – Carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulphur Biogeochemical cycles: physical & chemical processes which ensure the exchange of matter & energy between the biotic and abiotic parts of the ecosphere. To understand these cycles, we must understand the nature of matter and energy. Biogeochemical Cycles Part 1 – Matter Matter, Elements and Atoms: Matter: Anything that takes up space and has mass.  Composed of atoms of elements which interact chemically with one another to form more complicated molecules of compounds. Elements: Basic chemical constituents of matter, i.e. the stuff from which all things are made.  Each element has distinct physical properties;  Elements cannot be further broken down by chemical means. Atom: Basic physical unit of an element, i.e. smallest piece of matter that exhibits the properties of that element;  The physical characteristics of an atom determine the properties of the corresponding element. Atoms themselves are composed of tiny sub-atomic particles.  Electrons =>  Protons => The basic constituents of all atoms.  Neutrons => Structure of an atom: Small, dense nucleus of protons and neutrons, surrounded by large, diffuse cloud of electrons. Size: about 10^-10 meters. Each sub-atomic particle carries a specific electric charge. The electromagnetic force acts between charged particles, exerting a force which depends on the charges involved.  Two positively-charged (+, +) or two negatively-charged (-,-) particles repel each other.  Two oppositely-charged (+,-) particles attract one another.  Particles
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