Quatum Mechanics

OUTLINE OF THE TALK - 7 topics covered

SOME HISTORY OF PHYSICS - Note the “big divide”

Quantum Mechanics is just over 100 years old. Experiments began to punch holes in Physics theory about 1900.


ENERGY COMES IN PACKETS (QUANTA)

THE SIZE OF QUANTA (PARTICLES) - EARLY DISCOVERY

This was first discover by Max Plank to make some experimental data about energy match a ‘new’ theory.  He did not like what he found.

The Newtonian theory begins to break down


OOPS - EINSTEIN SEES THAT LIGHT HAS A PARTICLE NATURE. 

Light was thought to be a wave before Einstein's discovery. He made his discovery to make the emerging theory match the experimental data.  WON THE NOBEL PRIZE for this.


ANOTHER EXPERIMENT - DEFIES NEWTONIAN PHYSICS

Electrons exhibit both a particle and wave properties ??? What is going on?


ELECTRONS DEFRACT LIKE WAVES.  OH MY!


HOW WAVES COMBINE TO PRODUCE INTERFERENCE PATTERNS: Like water waves in a pond going through two slits in a barrier.  


OMG - ANOTHER EXPERIMENT THAT ASTOUNDS:

This one is a killer - we cannot measure things exactly.  We are living in a world of probabilites.  NOW WE MUST HAVE A NEW PHYSICS. 


WHAT QUANTUM MECHAICS IS: THREE PRINCIPALS:

With these three principals all of the wierd experimental data can be explained by a NEW THEORY (Quantum Mechanics)


THE SCHRODINGER EQUATION: (WAVE EQUATION)

This equation when solved for certain initial conditions yields a wave like those shown below the eqation.  This is actually in mathematical terms a pretty simple formula.


THE BEATING HEART OF QUANTUM MECHANICS: SUPERPOSITION.

This is IT!!!!!! The theory of SUPERPOSITION of waves.  That when ever there are two possible states (configurations) the states add together and that also becomes a possible outcome.

The + sign is the usual meaning of addition except that the numbers are complex (another talk sometime).


SOLVING THE SCHRODINGER EQUATION FOR THE NEXT THREE PAGES.

  Here I solve the Schrodinger equation for a particle moving back and forth in a little box.  This is to give you some idea of what Quantum researchers spend their time doing.  Cranking away at the Schrodinger equation. 


CRANKING… 

The math here is not very complicated - except for the fact that the equation is a differential equation, most high school students these days could follow the flow of this computation.


STILL CRANKING: AND WE FIND THAT THERE ARE PLACES WHERE THE PARTICLE CAN NEVER BE - TOTALLY CRAZY!!!

We also see that the energy leves are quantized and that there can be no zero energy level and that there are places where the particle can never be in the box.  



SUMMARY OF TALK: QUANTA, 

WAVE EQUATION, 

SUPERPOSITION, 

AND A UNIVERSE THAT IS PROBABLE.

As of now experiments and theory match (the theory even predicts new experiments).  

In a probable universe there is room for God to intervene, and room for miracles.  In my view, science and religion are no longer at odds.


© Robert Flegal 2018