“To be or not to be” that is the question. What about “To atoms or not to Atoms”?
The question seems very obvious, but at the same time is very tricky if we take it literally. I don’t know what has in his mind the designer of this question, so let’s just review the facts. Maybe, he will find his answer on the way reading this article down.
1) There are molecules that atoms at the same time:
The noble gases, such as Helium (He), Argon (Ar), etc, are very special in the periodic table of elements. The molecules of these gases are usually single atoms. In other words, a Helium atom is at the same time a Helium molecule. The same thing for the Argon: An Argon atom is an Argon molecule too. We can say an atom of noble gases instantly changes from atom to molecule and back to atom. So, even molecules can be atoms without any change.
2) Molecules are made of atoms:
For other cases, where a molecule is composed of more than one atom, the basic believe is that the atoms “form” the molecule. In other words, they create a composed arrangement among themselves, and stand on very close but not zero distances from each other to “build” a molecule. I mean there is no “change”in the states of those atoms which compose a molecule. It is like a complex built of individual atoms. They don’t lose their specific characteristics. A Hydrogen atom in a water molecule is still an Hydrogen atom.
3) Molecules can be break down in atoms:
This is the common part. With enough energy, we can break a molecule into its atoms. It can be seen as a “change”. But, in fact there is no longer any molecule after this event. In other words, the molecule that has been decomposed no longer exists, and a set of atoms are now on the table. It is more a conversion than a change. But, it is up to you to call it whatever you want.
4) Atoms could be changed too:
The last thing to say is that even it is possible to convert an atom from an element to an atom from another element. For example, it is possible to convert a Hydrogen atom into a Helium atom. This is really a “change”. The initial Hydrogen atom after conversion will be a new object, the new born Helium atom. It is one to one. I hope this answered the question.