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I have read this question:

An isolated atom in a' excited state woul remain there forever.

How soon does an electron emit the absorbed photon back?

These solutions are time independant so an excited hydrogen atom like 2p1 will remain stable forever. But in emission and absorption the system is not time independant because now we have a three component system of an electron, a proton and an electromagnetic wave (or photon if you prefer), and of course the EM wave has to be time dependant because it travels at c. The Schrodinger equation for this system is not the same as the Schrodinger equation for an isolated hydrogen atom, and the solutions are not the hydrogenic orbitals.

How do electrons get the energy to jump from one orbital to the next when in stationary orbits the electron does not radiate energy

However my understanding is that everything in the universe that we know of is trying to reach the lowest possible energy level, that is, for an atom, the ground state. And as far as I understand, even an isolated atom exists in vacuum, that is permeated by the fields, that is for example, the EM field. Now if the EM field permeates all vacuum, then the isolated atom will be able to transfer energy from the electron field (electron/atom system) to the EM field (in the form of a photon emission). After all, the atom is just made up of excitation of fields, like the quark field, the electron field. If it exists, that means it exists inside the fields, that permeate all vacuum.

So how could an isolated atom remain in an excited state forever?

So just to clarify, the atom itself is made up of quarks and electrons, excitation of fields, and so if it exists, then there must be fields present, and these fields should be able to transfer energy to other fields (EM), to emit photons and relax to ground state.

How can an isolated atom remain in an excited state forever?

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    $\begingroup$ Both of those answers are pretty clear that by "isolated" they mean "neglecting interactions with the electromagnetic field". Does that address your question? $\endgroup$ Nov 16 at 23:18
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelSeifert thank you, can you please tell me where they specifically say that "neglecting interactions with the electromagnetic field"? $\endgroup$ Nov 17 at 2:22
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelSeifert anyway, this could be the answer, meaning that they are not talking about an actual thing that can be experimentally done (isolating so that they do not interact with the EM field), but this is some kind of theoretical idea, that is not actually feasible, since the EM field permeates all of space. $\endgroup$ Nov 17 at 2:25
  • $\begingroup$ In link #1, there is a clear distinction between an "isolated atom" and one that interacts with the electromagnetic field. In link #2, the first paragraph discusses a system consisting of "an electron and a proton", while the remainder discusses a system consistng of "an electron, a proton, and the electromagnetic field." $\endgroup$ Nov 17 at 12:28
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelSeifert "the first paragraph discusses a system consisting of "an electron and a proton", while the remainder discusses a system consistng of "an electron, a proton, and the electromagnetic field."", thank you, this is why I thought this is not a real feasible experiment, just a theoretical one, because a system as far as I understand, cannot consist of just a proton and an electron, without the EM field, since the fields permeate all space, and if there is the quark field and electron field, there must be the EM field too. $\endgroup$ Nov 17 at 16:11

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