Physics: The First Science

By Peter Lindenfeld; Suzanne White Brahmia | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 12
Quantum Physics
The “old” quantum physics
The photoelectric effect
Bohr’s vision of the atom
Bohr’s calculation
Suddenly, photons everywhere
The Compton effect
Pair production and annihilation
X-rays
The new synthesis
Photons and electromagnetic waves
Complementarity
The photons and their guide
Beyond light: electron waves and the new synthesis
From de Broglie to Schrödinger
How does the Schrödinger equation work? What can it do?
Representing waves
Finally the best we have: the Schrödinger equation
What does the Schrödinger equation tell us?
Heisenberg and the uncertainty principle
Order in the universe: the elements
The beginning: hydrogen and its quantum numbers
Hydrogen shows the way: the other elements
The origin of order: the Pauli exclusion principle
Atomic structure: beyond the Coulomb field
The dependence and the order of the elements
The order changes

While it is never safe to affirm that the future of Physical Science has no marvels
in store even more astonishing than those of the past, it seems probable that
most of the grand underlying principles have been firmly established and that
future advances are to be sought chiefly in the rigorous application of these
principles to all the phenomena which come under our notice.

It is here that the science of measurement shows its importance—where
quantitative results are more to be desired than qualitative work. An eminent
physicist has remarked that the future truths of Physical Science are to be
looked for in the sixth place of decimals.

—Albert Abraham Michelson

-260-

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