I don’t understand why the arrangement of electrons around an atom (the electron cloud) orientates itself around the nucleus in different shapes i.e, spherical, dumbbell shape, etc? I know electrons have wavelike properties but I can’t picture in my head why, after two electrons, why they orientate themselves in the structures we see represented in orbitals and subshells. I know in the lowest-energy state hydrogen atom, the electrons are most likely to be found within a sphere around the nucleus of an atom. In a higher energy state atoms, the shapes become lobes and rings, obviously due to the interaction of the “quantum effects” between the different atomic particles (that’s what quantum mechanics is all about I guess.) Can someone explain in words or through imagery the interaction of these quantum effects that orientate these electrons in such structures? I do not know the math involved or have much experience in quantum mechanics, but can someone maybe perhaps explain it to me in laymen’s terms? Is it the wave structure of more than two electrons combining that cause the dumbbell shapes? This is bugging me so bad. I am a chemistry major and it seems to me that if I don’t understand this or picture it in my head, then learning atomic structure in general will seem useless to me. I know trying to understand or picture the effects of quantum mechanics is a futile process, but I need to know!