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The Quantum Atom

quantum mechanics, nucleus, electrons, single point, waves

Deeper web pages:

>  Wave Behavior

>  Electrons as Waves

>  Electron Orbitals and Shells

>  Atomic Properties

>  Electron Energy Levels

Scientists of the early 20th century found they could not explain the behavior of atoms using their current knowledge of matter. They had to develop a new view of matter and energy to accurately describe how atoms behaved. They called this theory quantum theory, or quantum mechanics. Quantum theory describes matter as acting both as a particle and as a wave. In the visible objects encountered in everyday life, the wavelike nature of matter is too small to be apparent. Wavelike nature becomes important, however, in microscopic particles such as electrons. As we have discussed, electrons in atoms behave like waves. They exist as a fuzzy cloud of negative charge around the nucleus, instead of as a particle located at a single point.



Article key phrases:

quantum mechanics, nucleus, electrons, single point, waves, everyday life, century, Scientists, energy

 
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