A nucleus made of protons and neutrons surrounded by a cloud of electrons equal in number to the protons.

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What does it mean for two objects to “touch”?

If you've ever been annoyingly poked by a geek, you might be familiar with the semi-nerdy obnoxious response of "I'm not actually touching you! The electrons in the atoms of my skin are just ...
36
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5answers
3k views

Why does space expansion not expand matter?

REFORMULATED: I have looked at the other questions (ie "why does space expansion affect matter") but can't find the answer I am looking for. My question: There is always mention of space expanding ...
33
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3answers
2k views

Can the solar system really fit in a thimble?

Almost every time somebody talks about atoms, at some point they mention something like this: If we remove the spaces between the atoms and atomic components, we can fit the solar system in a ...
30
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4answers
4k views

Are atoms unique?

Do atoms have any uniquely identifying characteristic besides their history? For example, if we had detailed information about a specific carbon atom from one of Planck's fingerprints, and could ...
28
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7answers
9k views

Why don't electrons crash into the nuclei they “orbit”?

I'm having trouble understanding the simple "planetary" model of the atom that I'm being taught in my basic chemistry course. In particular, I can't see how a negatively charged electron can stay ...
21
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3answers
1k views

Why do we need 12 atoms to store 1 bit of data?

Recent research at IBM has found a way to store 1 bit of data in 12 atoms. While that is a big accomplishment compared to what we have today, it does seem like a waste to a non-physics eye like me. ...
17
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3answers
2k views

What really cause light/photons to appear slower in media?

I know that if we solve the maxwell equation, we will end up with the phase velocity of light is related to the permeability and the permittivity of the material. But this is not what I'm interested ...
16
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4answers
493 views

Is the electromagnetic spectrum discrete?

I'm just starting to learn physics and I have a question (that is probably stupid.) I learned that energy levels that the bound electron can have are discrete. I also learned that when an electron ...
14
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1answer
834 views

Turned to steel in the great magnetic field

This is obviously a "fun" question, but I'm sure it still has valid physics in it, so bear with me. How great of a magnetic field would you need to transmute other elements into iron/nickel, if ...
12
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8answers
1k views

Where did Schrödinger solve the radiating problem of Bohr's model?

One of the problems with Bohr's theory to describe the hydrogen atom, was that the electron orbiting around the nucleus has an acceleration. Therefore it radiates and loses energy, until it would ...
11
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5answers
3k views

Which experiments prove atomic theory?

Which experiments prove atomic theory? Sub-atomic theories: atoms have: nuclei; electrons; protons; and neutrons. That the number of electrons atoms have determines their relationship with other ...
10
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3answers
402 views

Is hydrogen the same everywhere?

Silly thought. Feel free to shoot it down Does a hydrogen atom undergo any kind of change subject to it's environment? If one were to study a hydrogen atom on the surface of Mercury, another above ...
9
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4answers
1k views

Why does amount of protons define how matter is?

My question might sound convoluted but my mind is twisting right now so my apologies in advanced. Why is it that when I have one proton and one electron it is Hydrogen a clear flammable gas, and ...
8
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2answers
1k views

Is the Mendeleev table explained in quantum mechanics?

Does anybody know if there exists a mathematical explanation of Mendeleev table in quantum mechanics? In some textbooks (for example in F.A.Berezin, M.A.Shubin. The Schrödinger Equation) the authors ...
8
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2answers
15k views

What is in the space between a nucleus of an atom and its electrons?

There is a common analogy about the structure of an atom, such as the nucleus is a fly in the centre of a sports stadium and the electrons are tiny tiny gnats circling the stadium (tip of the hat to ...
8
votes
1answer
355 views

Why atomic bomb makes a mushroom?

Atomic bombs make mushroom. It's well-known and we've seen many images of atomic experiments around the world. My question is, why mushroom? Does TNT and Grenade also make mini-mushrooms? Is it a ...
7
votes
5answers
282 views

Do orbitals overlap?

Yes, as the title states: Do orbitals overlap ? I mean, if I take a look at this figure... I see the distribution in different orbitals. So if for example I take the S orbitals, they are all just ...
7
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1answer
2k views

Why is carbon dating limit only 40,000 years?

For an example, when they tried to get the carbon dating for presence of Aboriginal people in Australia they get to the number 40,000. But it could be much earlier. Why is that 40,000 years limit for ...
7
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3answers
464 views

What is the quantum mechanical explanation of the octet rule?

What is the quantum mechanical explanation of the octet rule? In other words, what makes the octet rule be true from a quantum mechanical view? How we explain what makes some atoms don't follow the ...
7
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2answers
570 views

why dosen't a charged particle radiate energy in circular motion in a uniform magnetic field?

I have studied in my Physics course that one of the drawbacks of Rutherford's atomic model was that when an electron will revolve around the nucleus, it is undergoing acceleration and so it should ...
6
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1answer
647 views

Is Palladium an exception?

I have been taught in school that atoms cannot have more than 8 electrons in the outer shell. Palladium atom's electron configuration is 2,8,18,18. Why isn't it 2,8,18,17,1 like the case of Platinum ...
6
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2answers
3k views

How does electron move around nucleus?

I need to get a nice picture about how electron moves around nucleus? I find concept of probability and orbitals quite difficult to understand?
6
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2answers
354 views

Do the energy levels of electron orbitals change relativistically?

When an electron emits a photon from changing energy levels, the frequency of the photon depends on the difference between the energy levels. But if someone is moving with respect to the atom, the ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Atomic mass of Copper-63?

This URL lists the mass of Copper-63 as 62.9295975(6) and this other URL lists the mass as 62.939598. These values differ by almost exactly 0.01 which seems hard to explain by experimental error. ...
5
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4answers
908 views

Is there the smallest particle that can be guaranteed to be unable to be broken down into smaller particles?

Is there the smallest particle that can be guaranteed to be unable to be broken down into smaller particles?
5
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2answers
117 views

Do atoms get created or are they recycled?

Basically, are the atoms that make up my body right now something that has existed since the big bang?
5
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1answer
365 views

Why can free lithium atoms not take part in an Auger process?

Shouldn't it be possible for an incoming photon to excite one of the 1s electrons to a 2p state (or one of even higher energy) and then for the excited electron to drop back to 1s and kick out the 2s ...
5
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1answer
649 views

Open shells in Quantum mechanics of multielectron atoms

This question: How do electron configuration microstates map to term symbols? And the discussion of multielectron effects here: Quantum Computing and Animal Navigation Inspired me to try to understand ...
4
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3answers
609 views

Why is a proton assumed to be always at the center while applying the Schrödinger equation?

Why is a proton assumed to be always at the center while applying the Schrödinger equation? Isn't it a quantum particle?
4
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3answers
2k views

Photon hitting an atom with higher energy than needed to ionize

Suppose we have an atom with several energy levels (e.g. an hydrogen), and it is hit by photons. I know that in order to have the atom change energy levels, the photon must have an energy level ...
4
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2answers
434 views

Graphene +1 extra carbon bond

I'm not a physicist just a curious mind, so please go easy! I was just watching a BBC Horizon Documentary that featured a piece on the recently discovered material Graphene. One of the facts ...
4
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4answers
387 views

Spontaneous radiation

The usual explanation of spontaneous radiation is that the energy eigenstates are perturbed by QED interaction, so that the eigenstates obtained from single-particle QM are no longer eigenstates of ...
4
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3answers
246 views

Do electrons in multi-electron atoms really have definite angular momenta?

Since the mutual repulsion term between electrons orbiting the same nucleus does not commute with either electron's angular momentum operator (but only with their sum), I'd assume that the electrons ...
4
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2answers
716 views

The Nucleus of an Atom

We know that the protons in a nucleus are positively charged, whereas the neutrons do not possess a charge; we also know that unlike charges attract. So why does the nucleus stay intact, even though ...
4
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2answers
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Bohr Model of the Hydrogen Atom - Energy Levels of the Hydrogen Atom

Why the allowed (stationary) orbits correspond to those for which the orbital angular momentum of the electron is an integer multiple of $\hbar=\frac {h}{2\pi}$? $$L=n\hbar$$ Bohr Quantization rule of ...
4
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2answers
307 views

Why and how, in QED, can excited atoms emit photons?

The quantum mechanics of the structure of atoms as determined by the electromagnetic forces inside them correctly describes the location and coupling of the different energy levels in essentially all ...
4
votes
2answers
381 views

Why is there a factor of 1/2 in the interaction energy of an induced dipole with the field that induces it?

In this paper, there's the following sentence: ...and the factor 1/2 takes into account that the dipole moment is an induced, not a permanent one. Without any further explanation. I looked ...
4
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1answer
193 views

Atoms: boson or fermion? [duplicate]

The spin of fundamental particles determines if they are bosons or fermions. The atoms also have bosonic or fermionic behavior, for example $\require{mhchem}\ce{^4He}$ has bosonic and $\ce{^3He}$ has ...
4
votes
2answers
431 views

Is it possible to recover the old Bohr-Sommerfeld model from the QM description of the atom by turning off some parameters?

Is it possible to recover the old Bohr-Sommerfeld model from the QM description of the atom by turning off some parameters? Can we use Ehrenfest's theorem (or some other scheme) to reduce the QM ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Zero probability of finding an electron in the nucleus

One and the same electron in a p orbital and taking part in a common π (pi) bond has two lobes visualized as connecting through the nucleus. There is however zero probability of finding an electron at ...
4
votes
4answers
92 views

Are atoms getting weaker? [duplicate]

If the universe is expanding, it would make sense that the spaces between particles are getting bigger. If this is so, then the particles which make up atoms are also affected. Does that imply the ...
4
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3answers
158 views

How do we know that internal conversion creates no intermediate photon?

I've read, from several sources, that in internal conversion -- an excited electron transferring its energy to another electron which is then emitted -- no intermediate gamma radiation is produced. ...
4
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3answers
403 views

Why does optical pumping of Rubidium require presence of magnetic field?

The optical pumping experiment of Rubidium requires the presence of magnetic field, but I don't understand why. The basic principle of pumping is that the selection rule forbids transition from ...
4
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3answers
521 views

Planetary model of atom still valid?

When I was in school, I learned (from Democritus) that an atom was similar to a solar system, with the nucleus being the sun, and the electrons being the planets. Of course, there are some ...
4
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2answers
1k views

Is a given volume of sparkling water lighter or heavier than the same volume of still water?

I can see it two ways - if all the $CO_2$ has turned into bubbles I would imagine it is lighter. However dissolved $CO_2$ atoms are probably heaver than the $H_2O$ atoms they replace, or fit in ...
4
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0answers
62 views

Is the relative atomic mass directly proportional to the size of an atom? [closed]

I have a piece of homework, i have to make a pair of models depicting pure metals and alloys. I want it to be as accurate as possible, and so i'm asking this: Is the relative atomic mass directly ...
3
votes
3answers
953 views

What happens if we put together a proton and an antineutron?

A hydrogen nucleus consists of a single proton. A 2-hydrogen (deuterium) nucleus consists of a proton and a neutron. A tritium nucleus consists of a proton and two neutrons. This makes me wonder how ...
3
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5answers
995 views

How can the nucleus of an atom be in an excited state?

An example of the nucleus of an atom being in an excited state is the Hoyle State, which was a theory devised by the Astronomer Fred Hoyle to help describe the vast quantities of carbon-12 present in ...
3
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4answers
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Bohr's model of an atom doesn't seem to have overcome the drawback of Rutherford's model

We, as high school students have been taught that-because Bohr's model of an atom assigns specific orbits for electrons-that it is better than Rutherford's model. But what Rutherford failed to explain ...
3
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4answers
994 views

Is an electron/proton gun possible?

In the 1944 SF story “Off the Beam” by George O. Smith, an electron gun is constructed along the length of a spaceship. In order to avoid being constrained by a net charge imbalance, it is built to ...