FearOfPhysics.com: Quantum Mechanics and the Atom

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Quantum Mechanics and the Atom

Here is a quantum mechanical picture of an Hydrogen atom. The nucleus is not shown, but is located at the center of the picture.

Here are some things to notice:

  • Like the heads you can see where the electron is most likely to be: near the nucleus (the center of the picture).
  • You can't tell exactly where the electron is, just where it is most likely to be.
  • The individual dots are not electrons. They are meant to be used in the context of how dense, or heavy an area of dots appears.
  • The more crowded (or heavier packed) the dots are in a particular region, the better chance you have to finding your electron there.

Here are some more atoms for you to look at:


...it turns out that this quantum mechanical view of atoms is our best theory to date on how atoms work. In case after case, the quantum mechanical model does a much better job in describing and predicting how atoms behave than the orbit model does.

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