'Relativistic Quantum Chemistry' -- Say whut? So I just found out that one of my co-workers (well, someone who works in the same building with me but not directly with me) has a PhD in this field, he took like the last two weeks off for Christmas vacation, but when he explained to me some of what he was talking about it really interested me. Now, I pretty much fully get the gist of relativity, time dilation, space-time warping/bending and the effects of gravity. I kind of have a grasp on quantum physics as well, but that's a little deeper than I can go. I know jack didly on chemistry. But here's the thing, what he's saying is that in heavy elements where the mass of the element is strong, it causes the electrons to spin around the nucleus at very high speeds to prevent the atoms from collapsing in upon themselves. When this happens, the electrons run near the speed of light, and actually create changes in the chemical properties of the elements, thus creating stranger and different outcomes. So, from my little mind trying to grasp this, I have absolutely no grasp on mathematics, so anything I'm reading here looks like Chinese backwards, I'm good at understanding the theory and the concepts though which is what I'm asking for here. How in the world does an electron going faster change the chemistry of an atom? Furthermore, how does relativity affect this, I mean....are there two different definitions for the same word in this situation? Because my only knowledge of what happens in a relativistic state is that space and time are warped, there is an introduction of time dilation and in some cases of extreme gravitational pull you create a black hole...and that's pretty much the gist of it. Can someone explain this is non-math terms so that I can understand it? This is totally new and foreign to me but it's astounding to me. :) Thanks!!