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What is the velocity of an electron within an atom?

This is a trick question. An electron within an atom doesn’t have a velocity. Despite what we are usually taught in grade school, it isn’t a particle zipping in an orbit around the nucleus. An electron is better described as having an orbital rather than an orbit. “Orbital” sounds something like an orbit, but it …

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What is the difference between an orbit and an orbital?

In the early 1900’s, when physicists were first probing the insides of the atom, they thought that electrons might travel around the nucleus of the atom in an orbit. This is the solar system model of the atom; the electron travels around the nucleus like the Earth around the sun. This model, illustrated by the …

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What is the difference between philosophical idealism and philosophical realism?

Realism is the view that the physical universe is an objective reality that is really out there. We’re not dreaming it. It exists independently of anything going on in our minds. Realism often includes the idea that it is a pre-existing reality, that is to say, pre-existing our observation of it. Einstein captured this last …

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Is it possible that quantum mechanics is wrong?

What is one possible response when we learn in quantum mechanics that a particle can be in more than one place at the same time? Or that particles which are across the galaxy from each other can coordinate their behavior instantaneously? The thought might pop up that possibly quantum mechanics is wrong. The question as …

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Does matter act simultaneously like a particle and a wave?

Actually, matter doesn’t simultaneously act like a particle and wave. It acts like a wave sometimes and a particle at other times, but not both at the same time. There isn’t a consensus among physicists on this particular description, but I’m going to give a current mainstream description of what’s going on. Matter acts as …

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What would it be like to live in the quantum realm?

A number of interpretations of quantum mechanics postulate a “quantum realm.” These include the Transactional Interpretation.* One of its developers, Dr. Ruth Kastner, calls it “Quantumland.” Here’s a drawing of Quantumland that Dr. David Chalmers, the noted philosopher of physics, presented in a lecture : The quantum realm on the left underlies our everyday world …

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What is the difference between quantum mechanics and quantum physics?

Both “quantum mechanics” and “quantum physics” mean the study of subatomic particles. But “quantum mechanics” is more specific. It’s the term used for the field once it was formulated into mathematical laws. Then, it became a kind of mechanics. Prior to the development of mathematical laws governing subatomic particles, the field was called “quantum theory” …

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What is wave function collapse? Is it a physical event?

In one view, a wave function is a piece of math, an equation. It’s not a physical thing. So, it can’t collapse in any physical sense. The collapse is metaphorical. This is one interpretation of quantum mechanics. It’s the interpretation taught in most university classes, the Copenhagen Interpretation. However, physicists have not settled on a …

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