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notes-week10 - Physics 10 Week 10 Quantum Theory What is...

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1 Physics 10 Week 10 Quantum Theory What is now accepted as the picture of atomic physics and by extensionwhat reality is lies in Quantum theory. In the early 1900’s several phenomena were observed such as the specta of atoms, the photoelectric effect and the light curves (intensity verses wavelength of glowing objects) and they could not be explained by existing theory. These are discussed in the book and need not be repeated here. A theory cannot be more or less right, it has to be compeletly right and the breakdown of the classical theory of electricity and magnetism could not be overlooked. During the interval between 1920- 1960 the following picture emerged. Particles are also waves which can interfere Energy is not continuous but is quantized. Other fundamental quantities are quantized as well) there is no such thing as a trajectory of an atomic particle pairs of quantities (i.e. position,momentum) cannot both be known with arbitrary precision. “What is” is a gigantic interference pattern The origin of force is virtual particles One dramatic illustration of quantum mechanics is the wave nature of particles as seen in the double slit experiment. As shown in the figure below an electron coming in from the right winds up on the screen on one of the maxium shown on the left, ie it hits a single geiger counter. If electrons go through the slit one after another the pattern (figure 1)
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notes-week10 - Physics 10 Week 10 Quantum Theory What is...

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