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A ridiculously brief introduction to quantum physics

The foundations of quantum physics were laid in the 1890swhen the German physicist Max Planck (1858-1947) proposed that radiation from ahot object did not take the form of waves but was produced as chunks of energywhich he termed quanta, which behaved like waves when in combination. MaxPlanck could only propose the notion of quanta as a mathematical concept,having no way of proving their existence.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was interested in thephotoelectric effect that occurs when light strikes certain atoms andelectricity is generated. Einstein realized that this could best be explained iflight travelled as quanta, not waves, and gave the name photon to a light quanta,this being a real entity and not just a mathematical idea.

In 1913 the Danish physicist Niels Bohr (1885-1962) usedquantum theory to explain the different energy levels of electrons in an atom. 

Further work during the 1920s by Erwin Schrodinger (1887-1961)and Werner Heisenberg (1901-76) developed the idea of quantum energy levels inatoms, thus creating a new branch of physics called quantum physics. 

Quantum physics explains how electrons emit radiation andshows that an electron can be regarded as both a wave and a particle.

Quantum physics has had many practical applications, such asin the development of lasers and transistors.

  • Are you any wiser than you were before?

    • Yes
    • No
  • This is all a complete mystery to me

    • Yes
    • No
  • Science classes at school bored me rigid

    • Yes
    • No

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  1. I still try to keep up and of course I can’t. But, there was a new article about exciting CO2 molecules and bouncing them off surfaces that broke the bond and produced O2 – possibly to later make oxygen in non-terrestrial environments. This is manipulating the nuclear binding curve in a way never thought possible. The carbon/O2 bond is one of the strongest in the nuclear binding curve. Big stuff! I read “Black Holes and Warped Space Time” for fun. No science did not bore me. And I understand almost nothing of quantum physics. Don’t mind trying though.

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