View Single Post
Mar7-12, 05:00 PM
P: 181
I'm not asking why the electron doesn't fall into the nucleus. I know this is explained by quantum mechanics.

But in class the other day, my professor said that treating the electron as a classical particle would lead to it crashing into the nucleus. This didn't really make sense to me. An electron experiences a coulombic force from the nucleus, much like a planet experiences a gravitational force from a star. With a classical view of the electron, wouldn't the electrons just adopt an elliptical orbit like a planet on a much smaller scale, or is there some other distinction between a planet and an electron where the electron would act differently and "fall" into the nucleus?

I know the classical view is wrong, I just didn't know if this reasoning really applied.
Phys.Org News Partner Physics news on
Engineers develop new sensor to detect tiny individual nanoparticles
Tiny particles have big potential in debate over nuclear proliferation
Ray tracing and beyond