Energy, mass, speed of light.  Protons, neutrons, electrons.  How small

is the atom?  I will tell you.  If people were

the size of atoms, the population of the earth would

fit on the head of a pin.  Never mind the

vast amounts of energy stored in matter.  Matter.  Something that

has mass — a solid, a liquid, a gas.  Never mind

what happens when we split the atom and release energy.

Energy.  The capacity of a physical system to do work.

The atom.  The unit of matter regarded as the source

of nuclear energy.  The power of the atom is unfathomable.


Paraphrases from the novel Underworld by Don DeLillo.