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Author Topic: Might there be just one electron in an atom?  (Read 1695 times)

Graham Hutchinson

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Might there be just one electron in an atom?
« on: 13/05/2010 09:30:02 »
Graham Hutchinson  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hi Chris!

If one the properties of an electron is that it can be in two or more places at once. Could it be that there is only one electron circling the atom's nucleus?

Graham
 
Graham Hutchinson

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 13/05/2010 09:30:02 by _system »


 

Offline Ron Hughes

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Might there be just one electron in an atom?
« Reply #1 on: 13/05/2010 15:42:06 »
I did not know that was one of the electrons properties. It can have a higher probability of being at two locations above some other locations but it can't occupy two at the same time. AKA Heisenberg uncertainty principle, if we can't know the position and momentum at the same time of a particle, how could we know it's position twice at the same time?
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Might there be just one electron in an atom?
« Reply #2 on: 13/05/2010 22:36:18 »
No graham that is not possible because one electron has only one charge and however the one electron is distributed its net effect can only be one charge. Most atoms have several charges on their nucleus and need several electrons to neutralise them.
 

Offline Murchie85

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Might there be just one electron in an atom?
« Reply #3 on: 16/05/2010 10:09:53 »
Ron, is it not Pauli's exclusion principle that prohibits two electrons being in the same place? It was Heisenbergs theory that mentions about position and momentum being impossible to determine both at the same time though. Personally I think the problem is still down to wave particle duality, as we know that a single electron can create a wave pattern in slit diffraction but be ejected from a metallic surface in its discrete particle form. So an electron(s) orbit with two different unique components that can be described either by Shrodingers equation or matrix mechanics both give acceptable results although do not shed light on the true physical nature of the electron.
 

Offline Ron Hughes

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Might there be just one electron in an atom?
« Reply #4 on: 18/05/2010 14:15:08 »
You have hit on the most important question in physics, " What is the electron and of what is it's field composed? " The answer to that will explain all phenomena.
 

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Might there be just one electron in an atom?
« Reply #4 on: 18/05/2010 14:15:08 »

 

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