1. Someone who studies atoms is just a bunch of atoms trying to understand itself.
2. The difference between 1 million seconds and 1 trillion seconds is almost 40,000 years.
sort of... but someone studying atoms is a bunch of atoms trying to understand other atoms that are not themselves. also, there are smaller things than atoms. the elementary particles are quarks, leptons, antiquarks, and antileptons. gauge bosons and the Higgs boson are "force particles" that mediate interactions between fundamental particles.