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A thought on Quantum mechanics

  1. Nov 1, 2011 #1
    This is just a thought. I was thinking about how quantum theory started to arise, with planck and assuming energy that the electron's energy around the nucleus is quantized,ect. I started to think of the electron like a sea of water molecules, where there is a required energy to go from one phase to another(liquid to gas for example), and that if you do not give it that required energy it will not switch phases. Obviously this is just figurative, I am not supposing that electrons are made of water molecules, I'm just wondering that it could maybe work similar to that. Sorry, if my writing was very shaky and hard to follow, because the idea is just in a nascent stage. I'm not trying to disprove QM or anything. The thing I am talking about also might have something to do with string theory possibly, but I'm really not sure. Feel free to comment, because I want something to start with if I decide to look deeper into it. Thanks all, I'm sure you'll tear my idea into bits but that is ok!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 1, 2011 #2
    Energy being quantized in QM is hard to comprehend.

    Sure, you can compare it to solid changing to liquid. But you can also think of it as reaching the next level (or going down a level) in a Super Mario game. Whatever you think of it as, it doesn't matter.

    I am not sure if energy is quantized in all situations at the sub-atomic level. But, for example, it is true for the quantum harmonic oscillator case ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_harmonic_oscillator#Hamiltonian_and_energy_eigenstates ), and for the hydrogen atom case ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_atom#Energy_levels ).

    All that matters is that you accept that Energy being quantized is possible in many (if not all) scenarios.

    Actually, if someone could give an example of the Energy Eigenstates of a system not being quantized, that would be interesting.
  4. Nov 1, 2011 #3
    I guess that what I'm trying to get at is why this energy is quantized. Obviously there can be no stop to "why" questions, but physics tries to keep the conversation going on as long as it can. Also, what is the current view of what electrons are? I know that a physicist would call them a fundamental particle but honestly what does that mean?
  5. Nov 1, 2011 #4
    check the Q&A of this forum. Lots of surprising results of famous experiments (e.g. BB Radiation) suggested that Energy is quantized. Scientists developed a theory which explains all these phenomenon, and these theories were tested in thousands of experiments, and passed their tests - with an amazing degree of accuracy if I might add.

    The deeper question of "why" is rather philosophical and I suspect the mods dislike philosophy discussions here. But Physics itself is a science and tries to explain HOW, and it predicts as best it can the models of things in the universe.

    The electron is a "point-particle" with finite length (at the plank scale). It's movement depends on the situation, e.g. if it is in deep space with no forces acting upon it then it's movement (or "time-evolution") can be described by the Schrodinger equation for a free particle.

    I think "fundamental particle" simply means you cannot break an electron down: you cannot cut it in half, you cannot bend it, you cannot put a hole through it, etc. etc.
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