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A bunch of quantum – Part TWO

A bunch of quantum – Part TWO

!!! HEREAFTER, THE REST OF THE ARTICLE IS IN DRAFT FORM. Needs pretty pictures. But most of the basic information is all there !!!

Now we shall see how this “Wave Nature” of everything (including matter like the Electron) changed the picture of the atom previously described by Bohr.

The idea that things came from the fairly well-established belief that light seems to ACT like, or BE some kind of wave.In particular there was great curiousity as to the EXACT reasons WHY electrons chose to inhabit PARTICULAR orbits around an atomic nucleus.

Although, perhaps they should have already guessed that matter could act as waves, after all, Einstein had already stated his famous formula that E = mc2 which, in its simplest understanding says that all forms of ENERGY are essentially EQUAL to MASS (multiplied by a constant (i.e a simple mathematical number) . So if MASS is really equal to some amount of energy then its not THAT big a stretch to suggest that if Photons act as WAVES, then electrons also can act as waves.

Werner Von Heisenberg; The Principle of Uncertainty.

The next advance in sub-atomic physics after De Broglie, was made when Werner Heisenberg started looking at the so-called “spaces” occupied by the electrons.

No, by “spaces” here, I don’t just mean the specific Locations  in the simple Hydrogen Atom, where DeBroglie’s wave function said the electron inhabits in its orbit around the proton, but more generally as in WHERE and HOW does an electron occupy space.  The main problem here was the Wave-Particle duality we previously referred to.  If electrons clearly travelled in waves, how could those waves ‘crystallize’ or turn into a singular particle when they hit something (like a piece of photosensitive film)

TO understand Heisenberg’s principle, (for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1932/33), we must understand his crucial discovery that the actual MEASUREMENT of things at the sub-atomic scale is UNCERTAIN. I don’t just mean here that it was ‘hard or difficult’ to measure. I mean it is deeply, INHERENTLY, uncertain and UNmeasurable.  What he said was;

“It is not possible to know BOTH the exact location AND the exact Momentum of a particle.”

In the lab, every time one measures a sub-atomic particle, you are unavoidably interfering with it. When you ‘see’ something, you obviously need to shine light upon it. So the photon of light must hit the particle which eventually comes back to your eye for measurement.

Unfortunately, since a photon is pure energy, if it bumps into a particle like an electron it will impart some of its energy TO the electron. Particles are not STATIC so they dont stand still. So, to be “measurable”, the quantity (quantum) of a particle’s different mass, energy, velocity or position needs to be known or measured.

Okay. Let’s try this out. Let’s say you wanted to know the …;

–  LOCATION of the particle. Too bad! The energy of the photon passed on to the particle will change its position.

–  The MOMENTUM (i.e. MASS &/or VELOCITY)  of the particle. Too bad! The energy passed on by the phton will have changed its speed and/or its mass. (Remember Einstein?  Energy is equal to mass ;  e = mc2)

–  The ENERGY of the particle. Too bad again! Since you didn’t know the energy of the particle BEFORE you gave it more energy from the photon, you stillcannot know its total energy. This means that even using indirect scientific methods of measurement, for example measuring the CHANGE in a particle’s circumstance is also impossible.  Just because we might know the energy of the light photon we used to hit the particle in the first place, doesn’t mean we automatically know its last-known Energy, Mass, Position, or Velocity.

Unfortunately, in ALL these instances of taking a measurement, the original sub-atomic particle is irreparably affected. It no longer has either its original POSITION or its MOMENTUM.

Let’s look at his formula.

Quick walk-thru’ of Planck’s Constant, & Dive into the Wave Function

Whew. I know that’s stressful for the uninitiated. So here’s a quick visual aid to help put the work of Max Planck (Nobel Prize 1918) into perspective.   (LOOK FOR VIDEO)

In 1901 Max Planck published his Law describing – in simple terms – how the GLOWING COLOUR of light produced by HEATING a certain material – related to the amount of ENERGY it produced.

Wien's law of radiation / Prawo Wiena

Wien's law of radiation / Prawo Wiena (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was found that his theory and his formulas accurately matched the experiments conducted earlier by Wilhelm Wien (1896), and Rayleigh and Jeans (1900). For a great 5 minute video summary of that work, check out this video if you have the inclination.


Unfortunately, it may be beyond the scope of this blog article to derive Planck’s formulas and to derive and explain the details of this disarmingly simple formula.

In particular, the how and why that a theoretical black-body might absorb and re-emit photons (also known as ‘Electro-Magnetic Radiation’ or EMR).  Regrettably, the intense mathematics and technical work carried out by Planck might regrettably act as a technical distraction from us recounting the crucial historical developments quantum theory.

The crucial upshot of Planck’s work is his conclusion that all energy in the universe can be broken down into discrete parcels which he called “Quanta”.  In other words, any measurement of Energy from a photon, (E) is simply equal to the frequency (v) of the light wave multiplied by a very, very small number [6.626×10−34] which became known as “Planck’s Constant”.

As a matter of fact, it was not until 20 years later, when Einstein was awarded his Nobel Prize for his work on a famous experiment on the “Phot0electric Effect” that the significance of Planck’s work became more widely accepted.  The PhotoElectric Effect showed that that light which was shone upon a metallic surface would NOT dislodge electrons unless/until the colour (That is, the frequency / wavelength of that light) …. and NOT the intensity (i.e. how MANY photons struck the surface) was changed.

So, remembering first that EVERYTHING has its own wave equation, let us describe these formulas for Wave Functions as simply as possible:

The “length of a wave exhibited by any particle of matter”  IS EQUAL TO a dividend of “planck’s constant” over the particle’s “total momentum”

Putting it another way: “The frequency with which its wave-lengths pass a certain point” IS EQUAL TO  the particle’s”total energy” divided by “planck’s constant

This video demonstrate the Changes in each of the two quantities in the formula.

and  MOMENTUM P=mv

Is an electron WAVE or PARTICLE…. This video show how Electrons and +ve Protons would annihilate … else they would need CONSTANT ACCELERATION and ALSO emit light as it did so.

Imagine if you have a cockroach in a room in your house. You know its there (you can hear it scratching). BUT, you just don’t know WHERE it is in that room, nor how BIG/FAST it is when it moves.  Unfortunately, every time you walk into the room, and turn on the light, the cockroach hears you or sees you first and scuttles off to hide in another place.

Hopefully you have guessed what I mean here. You are the scientist. The cockroach is a sub-atomic particle; perhaps an electron. But a hugely important distinction here is that the electron is not really ‘alive’ like the cockroach. It is not hiding. It just can’t be seen AT ALL.

TRUST ME:  A mistake made by mystics and quasi-scientists who have a need to find hidden meaning in things, is that they say the electron is actually “knows” you are coming and therefore hides. But an electron is not a cockroach. It has no brain or instinct. It changes because it has been affected by the light.

NOT whether a particle is THERE or not.

I think many people who dabble in quantum physics without fully understanding it, become happily lost in the apparent mysticism of it.  My view is, just because you can’t FIND or SEE something, doesn’t mean its not there at all (NOR should you ascribe mystical powers or “magical understanding” to the lower levels of the universal matter.

I offer the analogy of a Blind Man sitting in room with an Angry Cat.  The man can easily surmise something exists in the room with us through INDIRECT means (i.e. we might smell it, can hear it, measure/judge its distance through our stereoscopic hearing, determine how big or fast or energetic something is by the way OTHER things in the room might react to it.  OR we might even know by its silence that its NOT there when it was expected to be.

theory was the beginning of the descent into the ‘weirdness’ of the quantum world.

Since it was found (by Einstein’s Experiments ??) that corpuscles or photons of light were waves of pure energy that had no mass, he theorized that maybe electrons and other sub-atomic particles (which DO have a small measurable mass) might also BE, or BEHAVE, like photons by traveling in waves.

Max Planck’s constant of He found this by hypothesizing that “since corpuscles or photons of light act in a wave-like manner, is it possible that so-called “particles” like electrons or protons could also have a wavelength?”

h = 6.626 x 10 -34 J . s

He came up with a formula that agreed very closely with experimental data, but the formula only made sense if he assumed that the energy of a vibrating molecule wasquantized–that is, it could only take on certain values. The energy would have to be proportional to the frequency of vibration, and it seemed to come in little “chunks” of the frequency multiplied by a certain constant. This constant came to be known as Planck’s constant, or h, and it has the value

Wave-Particle Duality Re-Visited – More Deeply now

Biggest Freak-out = “Wave or Particle?” with Heisenberg

The issue is really that “EVERYTHING IS WAVES”

Max Planck, and the smallest packet of energy

Talking Head explains Planck’s constant as the “graininess of the universe”.

who had been conducting research and thought experiments on the nature of light. I.e. the fundamental phenomenon known as the “Photon”.

Planck’s hypothesis to avoid the “Ultraviolet Catastrophe”

Thanks to

Photon’s were known to exist as corpuscles from Newton onwards.

One of the most A huge question in science during that period (and in some respects still today) is whether light energy, and electrons, and other sub-atomic phenomena were actually PARTICLES, or whether they were WAVES of some sort.

With the work of De Broglie, came about the understanding that he concluded that all the little fundamental particles of matter

As it turns out, if modern String Theory proves to be correct, then this question will be settled on the side of “Everything is Waves”. Which, in itself is a concept with profound repercussions to our everyday perceptions.

It was known that To do this, he Up until this time

Young’s Double Slit Experiment

Walter Lewis starts talking about Heisenberg… but is using Young’s Double Slit.  His Message about uncertainty gets mixed up with DeBroglie Wave Functions for Photons. Not particles. So its crap to use this.

To understand this more fully, I think we need to enlist the help of Dr. Quantum.

NOTE: >… The electron does not behave differently because it knows someone is observing it. It’s called the observer effect and it’s due to the limitations of trying to measure the position of a particle !!!

Scientific types who (believe) they already have some understanding of Quantum Theory, act bemused. They just want to see Just How you will manage to explain the prickly topic to them.

Those who are NOT scientific types, become – by definition – those people who specialize in “Anything

But” scientific enquiry in their lives. i.e. The artists, the labourers, the politicians, the bankers, the tradespersons, the caregivers. They give you that ‘glazed look’, and often mutter out aloud how it is You have time on your hands to muck about with such ‘esoteric mumbo jumbo’.

Well, Trooper, I don’t care which camp you fall into.

ALSO… note that this stuff is relevant to YOU … The weirdness that forms the basis of the Quantum world is REAL. It is relied upon every day by You and Me to keep our lives moving.

It’s needed by the people who build and design the semiconductors in the computer on your desk, OR by the doctors who perform the X-Rays, CAT Scans and MRI’s for our medical diagnoses, OR by the operators of the nuclear reactors that provide so much of our electricity, and by

GPS to work (or for the one in the plane that flies us to our destination)


Created his Dead Cat hypothesis to rebuke the meaninglessness of Quantum Mechanics

What kind of person are you after reading this?

MAYBE DELETE THIS I think how you react to this topic can actually define you as a human being.  Either you are “Scientific” Type of person, or you are a Dreamer. A fighter, or a surrenderer?  A Thinker, or a Doer.

In a head-to-head comparison


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