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The Ways Little Bits Move
A Thumbnail of Dr. Mona Minkara's image Mona Minkara - April 28, 2016
A picture of two cartoon men flexing with one arm on each other. Both wear a red round costum with a zero on it in blue. Both are blond and have blue capes.

The Author of XKCD, which is a comic that talks about science and engineering topics, has put out a challenge to try and explain a very difficult scientific topic using the top 1,000 most common words in the English language. Here, I have attempted to explain molecular dynamics, which is a concept I used everyday in my graduate years, using only those words. This means I can’t use words like atom nature, science, or even smart. Hope you enjoy:

Everything in the world is made up of tiny tiny bits. There are over one hundred different types of these tiny bits and they all get along with each other in many different ways. We learn about these tiny bits in school. These tiny bits make up everything; from the chair and table you might use, to the small things you can not see that make you sick. They even make up you! As someone who wants to learn about the world, it is very important to understand how these tiny bits move and come together to make up the large things around us. A long time ago, other people figured out a few of the ways these tiny bits work. Today, if we want to know more about how these tiny tiny bits that move around each other work, we take the ideas these people had from the past and put them into a computer. We then tell the computer about these tiny tiny bits and some other tiny bits too. Now the computer knows what to do with all the different tiny bits. We watch as some tiny bits come close together, and others fly away from each other.This is how we use computers to understand how tiny bits move with one another in real life, making a movie that saves time and a lot of money on our way to understanding.