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Energy of an atom

  1. Jan 22, 2014 #1
    what is meant by energy of an atom? Does an atom with zero heat energy possess any other form of energy?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 22, 2014 #2
    Yes it does. Thermal energy, on a microscopic scale, refers to motion (translations, rotations and/or vibrations) of atoms or molecules. There is potential energy also in the configuration of the electrons with respect to the nucleus.

    You may want to google some terms like zero point energy and ground state energy. We are in the realm of quantum mechanics here so you will likely spend a lot of your time being confused, get used to it.
  4. Jan 22, 2014 #3


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    Question like this is extremely vague when you either do not put it in the proper context, or you do not cite where you read or understood such a phrase. As has been mentioned, one can explain this in a number of different ways. Which way do you want it?

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