Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What if atoms obeyed an inverse-cubed law

  1. Dec 25, 2011 #1
    atoms would be impossible in a universe ruled by an inverse-cube law because there would be no stable orbits for electrons.

    The above sentence comes from Rees' book Just Six Numbers. I don't get it. Why would an inverse-cube law affect the stability of electron orbits?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 26, 2011 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Because for an inverse-cube potential, there is no ground state!
  4. Dec 26, 2011 #3
    they will obey inverse cube law if universe had 4 space dimensions
  5. Jan 6, 2012 #4
    Not to mention flux is no longer conserved. That's a special property of 1/r^2 laws that we often take for granted.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook