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Orbits and orbitals

  1. Oct 14, 2011 #1
    l don't quite understand the difference .

    as far as l see it , orbital was defined as a group of orbits so that one level of energy
    can contain many electrons without canceling each other . in other words
    one level can have exact similar electrons but in different orbits within the same orbital .

    is that how it is ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 14, 2011 #2


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    Orbital is a term pertaining usually to (general/quantum) chemistry, while orbit pertains to classical (i.e. non-quantum) mechanics.

    No real connection among the 2, even though, from a language point of view, orbital < orbit.
  4. Oct 14, 2011 #3


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    Where have you seen orbital defined in terms in orbits at all? They are not related.
  5. Oct 14, 2011 #4


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    Nope. Electrons don't follow orbits. That's the whole point of using a different word, orbital, to refer to what electrons actually do.

    You might be confused by learning about the Bohr model, where it's assumed the electron circles the proton. Keep in mind that the Bohr model is wrong. It's still often taught because it's useful for teaching some other concepts in quantum mechanics, but for understanding what the electron in the atom is actually doing, it's useless.
  6. Oct 14, 2011 #5
  7. Oct 14, 2011 #6
    Thanks for your help , any way l never said l found it defined like that . l am just asking whether my understanding is right or not .
  8. Oct 14, 2011 #7
    it is still not clear what is going on , l see no sense of these shapes at all .

    ya , l understand no one really knows . so how it is useful guessing how electron lives inside the atom ? we should better wait till we can see inside it and then make a model just like mechanical physics .
    l spent a lot of time trying to make sense out of these things at the end it turns out to be no sense it is all just a matter of imagination , l even noticed that they prove some models and theories to be true based on results of experiments which are not yet enough to confirm any thing !! l mean it can only be true if we can see it with our naked eyes .
    results of experiments are not enough , analogy is useful but we should remember it is "analogy" not real .
    Thanks guys , it is kind of mind training more than real facts .
  9. Oct 14, 2011 #8


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    I quoted you:

    It is in the math. There is no counterpart that will make sense without the math.

    We will never "see" inside the atom, since our tools of sight are too big, and always will be.

    Results of experiments are the real world. There is nothing more real than that. You will not see anything with your naked eye any more than looking at a distant galaxy with a radio telescope.
  10. Oct 14, 2011 #9


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    Wow. You sound like a crackpot in training. :wink:

    Quantum mechanics is hardly "guessing" or "a matter of imagination." Plenty of people have mastered quantum mechanics, and it is, by some measures, the most successful theory ever developed. Its predictions have been verified to remarkable accuracy.

    You'll only succeed at learning quantum mechanics by ridding yourself of preconceived notions of how the universe works. Your expectations are based on how macroscopic objects behave, and those ideas are simply unsuitable when dealing with the quantum realm. To put it another way, because quantum mechanics is a more general theory than classical mechanics, the ideas of quantum mechanics must explain classical results, not the other way around.

    Also, do you understand that one of the fundamental principles of science is that if a theory doesn't match experimental results, it's wrong? There's no way around that. Agreeing with and correctly predicting experimental results is the one thing that a theory must do. Moreover, a scientific theory can't be proven. All you can do is show it is consistent with experimental observations. Only when a theory consistently predicts and explains the experimental observation do we accept it to be an accurate description of nature.
  11. Oct 14, 2011 #10
    there is no reason to Wow Crack potting me Dr. isn't this a place to learn and ask ?
    or it is a place to make fun of people ?

    Maybe you wanna re-read what Analogy means and why we tend to do that .

    analogy is simply assumption is a sort of imagining , results of experiments would only confirm the assumption but not the reality .

    it is just what satisfy us to better understand nature , l don't think l am crackpot in training in your sense of saying it , l think it crackpot in training to be clear what is real what not .

    you think you got it all right to Wow Crack potting me when l am asking to learn !

    some people gave me a link and tried to explain what they believe is true , but they didn't consider what l am saying is wrong or funny ! you cannot prove what you are saying is true so how can you prove what l am saying is wrong !
  12. Oct 14, 2011 #11


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    Yes, this is a place to learn and ask; however, it is not the place to simply dismiss well-established theories as mere "guessing." While you may, in fact, not be a crackpot, your dismissive attitude is typical of what you hear from crackpots trying to advance their pet theories that fly in the face of scientific understanding. The guy with the free-energy machine couldn't possibly be wrong, even though his invention violates one of the most basic principles of physics. No, to him, all the scientists are wrong because they're all stuck in their ivory towers, playing with their irrelevant models and are out of touch with reality. Sound familiar? Even now, you're trying to characterize scientific theories as mere analogies. Trust me, they are much more rigorous than that.
  13. Oct 14, 2011 #12
    l am not trying to dismiss any thing of science or ignore all the facts and theories established
    winners of Noble prizes . l consider them all brilliant in the way of thinking and thoughts .

    l never mentioned any theory is wrong ! l even don't have one ! just like that trying to understand the source of these theories and results of the experiments that said to match with them .

    you know what is the best of science ? is that everything can be changed in glance of an eye
    and nothign is pretty sure to be true , accepting the fact that you may after a long road of studying to be wrong is the first thing you need to be real scientist .
    Doubt is what takes you the truth or probably mostly to be true .
  14. Oct 14, 2011 #13


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    Weeeeellllllll, that's not so true.

    Theories are not simply overturned with the snap of a finger. It requires a preponderance of evidence. We won't be overturning the atomic theory of matter, or the germ theory of medicine, or the natural selection theory of evolution, or the relativistic theory of spacetime any time soon. They may change incrementally, but overturning them would take decades of counter evidence.
  15. Oct 15, 2011 #14
    This is totally uncalled for.
    Anyone questions the limitation of conventional science is far from a crackpot.

    Whoever tries to put Math over everything as ultimate truth should remember one saying (I think by Smoley):

    God (or whoever/whatever made the universe) did not use partial differential calculus or tensor analysis to create the universe.
  16. Oct 15, 2011 #15


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    Sorry, I don't know what you read, but what I read was more than simple questioning of the "limitation of conventional science." It was a dismissal of quantum mechanics as trivial and ephemeral. According to lssam, physicists apparently just make up stuff because "no one really knows." They're just "guessing how electron lives inside the atom." He can't understand what an orbital represents so he decides it's not a failure on his part but that quantum mechanics is "no sense" and "just a matter of imagination." Experimental results supporting quantum mechanics don't mean anything because we can't "see it with our naked eyes." Scientific theories are just bunch of analogies, a mere "kind of mind training" and not based on "real facts." While he may not have intended to sound like a crackpot, he did a remarkably good job doing so.

    I'm not saying that the current theories are perfect, but one has to recognize that over decades, a lot of very smart people have examined theories like quantum mechanics with a very critical eye looking for mistakes and looking for ways to modify it to better describe reality. Moreover, the current theories are backed by tons and tons of experimental data. These are well-tested theories that have withstood every challenge. It's very very unlikely that if some aspect of a theory doesn't make sense to you, it's because the theory is wrong.
  17. Oct 15, 2011 #16
    as l said clearly for me as l see some theories based on observation to better understand a phenomena by the aid of analogy because we cant really fully undersand it ( unless we can talk with God him self , or nature to explain to us ) and modeled using math to quantify it.

    experments are true relative to us , relative to what we see that makes it true .

    and that what excatly l am saying we cant say this is true because we havnet see two electrons really moving in wave fashiion , we havent seen electron moving in such orbits around the atom to confirm it is true !
    experments are proven true for the anaglogy ( l keep saying it over and over again) .
    uncertainty theory is something deal with all the time everyday , but we as human we try to make things certain , but remember that we didnt creat it to be certain how it is made ! did we?

    Bohr model was an inspiration of the Solar system , data of experments didnt proof that model is right but only showed a function between voltage and light emitted from atoms .

    now that is still not enough to say that model is true but we can fit it to be so such that we have at least something probably to the way it works as we cant really completely truely know .

    maybe what you dont see in my lines Dr.Vela is that my way of thinking is being so clear with what is true and what is not .

    experments are truely useful , Data as well . science Rocks because it is amazing and always surprizes me and that we makes it exciting .
  18. Dec 18, 2011 #17
    I have a specific question about counting orbitals:

    Normally, as I have been taught, when counting orbitals, one must fill each level to move on to the next (e.g 1s2, 2s2, 2p6 must be full to move on to 3s2)...

    However, I encountered a question that was asking me to find the group, period, and block from the noble gas shortcut which read: [Ar]3d5,4s1

    Not only is the order something I am not used to, but I am puzzled on how you would count these and find the element if the S and D orbitals are only half filled...Can someone help???? and fast???
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2011
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