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Electron and the uncertainty principle

  1. Dec 8, 2011 #1
    I completly understand the uncertainty principle and why we cant pinpoint the exact location of an electron. but what if we could?? would it be important that would could find the location of an electrom? would we know more about atoms?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 8, 2011 #2
    The answer is no. The uncertainty principle is just an equation stating what actually happens. It also takes humans one step closer to a complete unified theory.
     
  4. Dec 9, 2011 #3
    i also thought about that when i studied the uncertainty principle, im wondering what diffrence could it make if someone could determine the exact location and momentum of an electron inside an atom?
     
  5. Dec 9, 2011 #4
    wave function sci contain all the information about the moving micro particle and mode of sci square gives the probability of finding the particle........bcoz sci has no physical significance.
     
  6. Dec 9, 2011 #5

    Bobbywhy

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    Austim14:
    It seems you do not have a complete understanding of the Uncertainty Principle. The position (exact location) of a particle CAN be known completely, contrary to what you posted.

    “One striking aspect of the difference between classical and quantum physics is that whereas classical mechanics presupposes that exact simultaneous values can be assigned to all physical quantities, quantum mechanics denies this possibility, the prime example being the position and momentum of a particle. According to quantum mechanics, the more precisely the position (momentum) of a particle is given, the less precisely can one say what its momentum (position) is.”

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-uncertainty/
     
  7. Dec 9, 2011 #6

    It would render our formulation of quantum mechanics obsolete and turn one of the most accurately tested theories upside down.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principle
     
  8. Dec 9, 2011 #7
    Isn't the electron's valence/ shell / layer a type of knowing where the electrons are?
     
  9. Dec 9, 2011 #8

    Drakkith

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    No. It is simply a probability map of where it MIGHT be.
     
  10. Dec 9, 2011 #9
    Do you happen know the experiments that support the uncertainty principle? I'd like to see if there's any other explanation, and if not, finally buy into quantum physics and stop being frustrated by it.
     
  11. Dec 9, 2011 #10

    DaveC426913

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    Well, all of them...


    Actually, forget experiments, the thing you're typing on supports it. No electronic device in your house (or tens of millions of other houses) would work without it. It is the very basis of every transistor built in the last several decades.
     
  12. Dec 9, 2011 #11
    It's the basis of every transistor built? How does my computer support it? Please back up these statements.
     
  13. Dec 9, 2011 #12

    DaveC426913

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    Transistors are semi-conductors. Modern semi-conductors take advantage of quantum tunneling (across an energy barrier). HUP explains quantum tunneling. No classical theory does.
     
  14. Dec 9, 2011 #13

    Drakkith

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  15. Dec 9, 2011 #14
    This may seem stupid, but how do they know it's not a transfer of electrons from the barrier? I'm no physicist so please be nice ;) but can we say all electrons are universally the same?

    Like if the barrier was a brick wall, and you thru a brick at it. The brick pushes one brick out to the other side and squeezes into it's place, giving the appearance of you throwing a brick through the wall, but really just transferring the brick [electron(s)]
     
  16. Dec 9, 2011 #15
    They always show those images in the documentaries about quantum physics about some guy standing at a wall pushing and in quantum physics sometimes he would go through that wall. But it's not a guy and a wall.. They are atoms and electrons. Atoms make up everything, and electrons are in atoms. So its like a wall made of circles (electrons), squares (protons), and triangles (neutrons). If you push a whole bunch of circles against the wall some of the circles will go thru (or appear to go thru and just be transferring) and some of the circles will bounce off the squares (protons) and triangles (neutrons). I mean thats more accurate than how they analogize it on NOVA, but again, I don't know the mathematics, tests, and schematics behind it so maybe what I'm saying doesn't work?
     
  17. Dec 9, 2011 #16

    Drakkith

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    See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_tunneling

    Mgervasoni, instead of simply questioning everything here on PF, it would be much more effective for you to pick up a book on Quantum Mechanics and read for yourself WHY it's like this. I highly recommend this one: https://www.amazon.com/Introducing-...8505/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323484353&sr=8-1

    It does a very good job of explaining not only the basics of quantum mechanics, but also the history of WHY QM was needed and the problems in Classical Physics. And it is extremely easy to understand. And the best part is that it is ILLUSTRATED! Many of the pictures are quite humorous and I thoroughly enjoyed this small book. Click the link and then you can look at some of the pages inside the book by clicking on the picture at the top left.
     
  18. Dec 10, 2011 #17
    You're right, that's exactly what I should do and I thank you for a good recommendation on a book on QM as they can be hard to find. Thanks.
     
  19. Dec 10, 2011 #18
    Also found some of the basic/first experiments for QM physics here: http://www.higgo.com/quantum/laymans.htm [Broken]

    The answer "All of them" was perhaps the most non-educational and thought discouraging answer one could give. I was under the impression that a forum was a medium for discussion and learning, and I thought at a physics forum it would be full of intelligent answers and other sources than wikipedia, which in my opinion is garbage. If a contributor doesn't feel like giving any effort or time or joining a discussion, let it alone. Don't give short and unsupported answers to very interesting and awe-inspiring questions. It's as if someone has a brilliant thought and you point out he misspelt a word. In the information age we live in we should strive to give logical, meaningful, thoughtful answers and not get stuck in any one belief.
    In the Dark ages no one questioned things. People would see a bridge, but no one would know how it was built. It's like a kid who eats his french fries and doesn't know they come from potatoes, because he wasn't taught. It's not his fault his teacher's are bad. If people spread their knowledge the world will be better. If people say "French fries are french fries, they come from McDonald's", we will suffer.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  20. Dec 10, 2011 #19
    The thing a book lacks is dialogue. I start reading the books and asking.. well why? how did they know that? What are these experiments? Are there any other explanations? Maybe our idea of what light is, could be changed. Maybe we don't even truly understand gravity. That is why I joined the forum. I thought that was what a forum was about. If you think books > discussion, then we don't agree. I read books, and watch the MIT lectures, and have questions and come here to find answers and discussion. You don't have to stifle my thoughts. I think any respectable person who is in the field of physics should know the answers to these questions and easily explain them, or perhaps be asking them him/herself.

    I'm not trying to "simply" question "everything". I am trying to have a discussion with people that know more than me, so that I learn. I'm not here saying anyone is wrong or acting like a fundamentalist zealot. What I am doing is purposing a question about the most basic principles in physics, so that I can have a strong foundation to grow on. If my questions bother you because they sound too simple, I understand. But you should understand that we don't know the answers. That we've never seen an atom so it's all intelligent guesswork. That the most intelligent physicist say we don't have gravity 100% figured out.

    If you want to be a Physics historian, you are the in the right frame of mind. Instead, I find the interesting part of physics the NEW concepts. The ulterior explanations no one thought of yet, or have but aren't "accepted". How can progress be made if everything is accepted? Einstein didn't "accept" Newton's laws, and he came up with a brilliant and truly enlightening Theory of Relativity, and then your beloved quantum mechanics. I think I read that he and Bohr would have brilliant discussions, probably asking the same simple questions I am here. We do not still adhere to Socrates view of physics, and you have to credit that to new thoughts, concepts, and theories. Einstein loved "What if....?" If he was asking questions here, would you tell him to go read Newton's book? Even though I'm sure he did, he still had questions, and I'm sure I still will. I don't mean to bring a long discussion about discussing things into this, but I would like the opportunity to ask physics questions and be answered thoughtfully, and perhaps inspire some new thoughts.
     
  21. Dec 10, 2011 #20

    DaveC426913

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    The problem is, there is no way a forum can provide enough info to you to have a two-way conversation with those who have been doing work in the field. The best a forum can do is say 'here's how it is, you can do further reading or you can take our word for it'.

    There is just too much to know. The only way to have a two-way discussion at the level you're looking for is to go to school.

    Either one learns the math and then studies Bell's Inequality Theorem and sees first hand that it demonstrates a profound truth about how QM must operate - or one has no choice but to take for it granted because that enough fine minds have come to that conclusion.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
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