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Modern Physics - Intro

Quantum mechanics (QM) is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic levels due to the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics provides a radically different view of the atom, which is no longer seen as a tiny billiard ball but rather as a small, dense nucleus surrounded by a cloud of electrons which can only be described by a probability function. The counterintuitive properties of quantum mechanics (such as superposition and entanglement) arise from the fact that subatomic particles are treated as quantum objects.

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Cornell University

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University of Sheffield

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Video Transcript

Welcome to the next unit in physics, one of three and this unit. We're going to be talking about what is called modern physics. Now, this is a little confusing because modern physics generally goes from the late 18 hundreds onto today. Um, except that it excludes relativity in many cases. And really, relativity didn't come into its own until Albert Einstein the beginning of the 19 hundreds. Um so very often, though, modern physics is used to refer to small things that studying a very small phenomena whereas relativity really has more reliance on large phenomena, things like planets and suns and Galaxies. Um, solar systems, these are included in relativity, and really, relativity really shows up in those situations, whereas the things we're gonna be talking about show up more on the scale of atoms. So in particular, the concepts we're going to cover in the coming units will include things like light, how it can act as a particle, that is to say, a photon of light and also the spectra of light, how we can have specter of light that are produced by particular sources. How that happens. What's the characteristics of that light we're gonna talk about sub atomic particles themselves, which really weren't known about until the end of the 18 hundreds or early 19 hundreds. Talking about electrons, protons, neutrons. Not just having a vague idea that they might exist, but really understanding what they are, what they're doing, how they're organized and how they move around, how they're bound to each other. So we're going to talk about sub atomic particles. We'll talk a lot about what's called discrete nous or quantity ization. The idea of discrete nous is that many sources of light, um, it on lee particular wavelengths. And why is it that they only in particular wavelengths of light? It's because of quantity ization of the particles inside of the atoms that compose it in quantity. Ization means that these electrons, in particular can Onley sit at particular energy levels. They can only have certain energies, and when they move around, what energy levels they can move to is also controlled. And because of this, you get these discreet wavelengths of light that correspond to the particular changes in energy that the electrons can have. Lastly, we'll also be talking about the wave particle duality, which you can see here. I'm now referring Toa light as being a particle, and we've been talking about it as a wave. And so apparently it connect is both. Well, it turns out that small particles like electrons can act as both particles and as waves as well. So this is a little confusing, and the math behind it is complex. But there's a lot we can dig out simply by analog, taking simply by taking small, focused analyses of different situations so that we can understand what is going on at the extremely small scale.

RC
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Top Physics 103 Educators
Elyse G.

Cornell University

LB
Liev B.

Numerade Educator

Aspen F.

University of Sheffield

Jared E.

University of Winnipeg