In Lewis Epstein’s book Thinking Physics, he says that, since an electron behaves as a standing wave around the nucleus (exhibiting no known position changes, and thus no acceleration and no emission of radiation), something has to push part of the wave into a lower orbit to get the radiation process started. Since the electron would then have probability in both upper and lower orbits, there are essentially two standing waves now, which interfere with each other, constructively at some points and destructively at others, to make a more localized wave packet. This packet behaves like a particle orbiting the nucleus, and so emits a photon. Epstein further says that in empty space, an atom with enough energy can emit a photon because virtual photons, allowed by the uncertainty principle, are the initiators of the radiation process by colliding with the electron wave. I had never heard of this way of thinking in school, and was wondering if what Epstein says is true. To me, it would make more sense if a photon hitting an electron wave simply interferes with it, making a localized wave packet without the “two standing waves” middle step that Epstein describes. Anyway, I’m skeptical because the need for the virtual photon to explain spontaneous radiation seems too important and interesting to not be in textbooks. But is this really what goes on?