Why is it this way

  • Thread starter Forestman
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  • #1
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I understand that this is probably one of those big questions that no body has an answer too, but I felt that it would not hurt to ask.

Why is the world on the subatomic scale quantized. Why does it just not behave by exchanging matter and energy in a continuous way, instead of by way of quantized units?

Does string theory have an answer for this?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Pengwuino
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I don't think there is an answer possible. It just is the way it is. Even if a more fundamental theory could somehow say why things are quantized, you'd just have another "why?".
 
  • #3
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Thanks Pengwuino.
 
  • #4
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I believe energy is quantized because of the wave/particle duality of matter. Zoom out too much, everything appears to be made of solid particles moving continuously. Zoom in too much, and everything turns into probability waves, with electrons following wave patterns around atoms.
Waves always exist in integer multiples, and energy levels in atoms are directly related to this.
 
  • #5
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Thanks Falcon32. I like what you said. It really made a lot of sense to me. And my age is 32, and my favorite bird is the falcon.

Coolbeans
 
  • #6
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Glad I could help, and the name thing is funny. :)
 
  • #7
Pengwuino
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I believe energy is quantized because of the wave/particle duality of matter. Zoom out too much, everything appears to be made of solid particles moving continuously. Zoom in too much, and everything turns into probability waves, with electrons following wave patterns around atoms.
Waves always exist in integer multiples, and energy levels in atoms are directly related to this.
This is really more of an observation and deduction, not so much a "why".
 
  • #8
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I believe energy is quantized because of the wave/particle duality of matter. Zoom out too much, everything appears to be made of solid particles moving continuously. Zoom in too much, and everything turns into probability waves, with electrons following wave patterns around atoms.
Waves always exist in integer multiples, and energy levels in atoms are directly related to this.
And why is that?
 
  • #9
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And why is that?
For example, the electron waves around the nucleus have to be integer multiples in order to create a standing wave. In areas that they cannot do this electrons do not form orbitals.

Sometimes an observation does answer why.
 
  • #10
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And why is that?
Because thousands of scientists have experimentally determined that we are indeed observing a wave/particle duality in the behavior of matter.

http://chemed.chem.purdue.edu/genchem/topicreview/bp/ch6/bohr.html

The above website from Purdue University explains a bit more if you are interested in reading. Note that photons have energy levels determined by integer multiples...
 
  • #11
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For example, the electron waves around the nucleus have to be integer multiples in order to create a standing wave. In areas that they cannot do this electrons do not form orbitals. .
Why do electron waves have to be integer multiples in order to create standing waves? It maybe answers your 'why' question but my 'why' question is different.:tongue2:

@falcon32
The question is not 'what' is observed it is 'why' it is observed.
 
  • #12
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The question was, "Why is the world on the subatomic scale quantized?" Why is energy quantized instead of continuous?

Energy on the subatomic scale is quantized because electrons, quarks, protons, etc, all have the very odd property of behaving like waves. Since electromagnetic energy (as I posted above) is simply particles like electrons emitting waves, we have the answer.

The energy in the subatomic atomic world is quantized because the subatomic world operates according to the very simple laws of waves.

This is why. It is not complicated at all.
 
  • #13
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Why do electron waves have to be integer multiples in order to create standing waves? It maybe answers your 'why' question but my 'why' question is different.:tongue2:

@falcon32
The question is not 'what' is observed it is 'why' it is observed.
I learned the "why" in the first few weeks of my basic physics class at college. You see, if electrons did not travel around nuclei in standing waves, they would spiral into the nucleus and cease to exist, all the while emitting continuous radiation. This is because protons and electrons attract eachother. The only way to get an electron to keep from following a death spiral into the proton, strangely enough, was to force it to travel with a wavelike pattern around the nucleus. The spectrum of hydrogen confirmed this theory!!

Really science has known 'why' for years, thanks to the thinking of Niels Bohr. Now we have advanced to different questions, like 'is there a particle called a graviton?"
 

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