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Five Minute Monday – Why is Glass Transparent?

It’s something that we may take for granted, but glass has this amazing property that allows us to see through it but at the same time it’s solid. Windows allow sunlight while protecting us from rain. They also allow us to heat and cool our homes independent of the temperature outside. And allow us to drive at high speeds. Our phones and computers have glass displays, and glass lenses allow some people to see clearly. Glass is so important to our lives, yet how does it even work?

When you think about it at the atomic level, we are told that the atom is almost completely empty. The nucleus sits “like a pea in the center of a sports stadium” while the electrons sit alone in far seats. You should be able to see through an atom easily as there’s nothing to block it. So why can’t you?

This interesting video tries to explain how glass works, and why silcon-dioxide is ideal for allowing light-energy to pass through.


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