# Answer to: Are electrons orbiting atoms?

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#### thedoc

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##### Answer to: Are electrons orbiting atoms?
« on: 18/01/2014 08:30:01 »
Jordan Munroe asked the Naked Scientists:

First, the electron is in a probability cloud about the nucleus of an atom. So it's not really whizzing anywhere. Second, It doesn't respond to Newton's equations in the same way. An electron must remain between specific energy states within an atom and so it doesn't respond to things like friction the way large bodies do. Electrons do however respond to certain frequencies of light by moving up an energy state and give off the same light when they move down. This is where the light from a hot piece of metal comes from as well as the light from the aurora.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 18/01/2014 08:30:01 by _system »

#### syhprum

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##### Re: Answer to: Are electrons orbiting atoms?
« Reply #1 on: 18/01/2014 08:46:30 »
can it not be said to be "whizzing" round in as much as it generates a magnetic field which I take it is why Hydrogen atoms like to go round in pairs.
syhprum

#### lightarrow

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##### Re: Answer to: Are electrons orbiting atoms?
« Reply #2 on: 18/01/2014 13:02:35 »
First, the electron is in a probability cloud about the nucleus of an atom.
So it's not really whizzing anywhere.
Better to say that the electron cannot be spatially localized better than what its |$$\psi$$|2 allows.
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Second, It doesn't respond to Newton's equations in the same way.
Of course. You totally need quantum mechanics to describe its behaviour and energies.
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An electron must remain between specific energy states within an atom and so it doesn't respond to things like friction the way large bodies do.
The fact there is no friction it's not relatad to that: even the motion of planets around the Sun is frictionless.
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Electrons do however respond to certain frequencies of light by moving up an energy state and give off the same light when they move down. This is where the light from a hot piece of metal comes from as well as the light from the aurora.
Sure.
Anyway I didn't understand which was exactly your question.

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lightarrow

#### yor_on

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##### Re: Answer to: Are electrons orbiting atoms?
« Reply #3 on: 20/01/2014 10:31:22 »
It's unlocalized until measured, and then you have HUP
http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/uncer.html#c2

the first argument can be used for most things actually. we all need to observe something before being able to say it's 'there'. HUP is a weirder statement as it won't allow you to define both speed and position. The thing people think allows us to see that lorry as well as define its speed is called decoherence. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-decoherence/

It's a interesting world
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#### alancalverd

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##### Re: Answer to: Are electrons orbiting atoms?
« Reply #4 on: 20/01/2014 10:35:01 »
can it not be said to be "whizzing" round in as much as it generates a magnetic field which I take it is why Hydrogen atoms like to go round in pairs.

No. The principal magnetic field of the hydrogen atom derives from the nucleus and has nothing to do with molecular bonding, which is due to incomplete filling of the s orbital.
helping to stem the tide of ignorance

#### syhprum

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##### Re: Answer to: Are electrons orbiting atoms?
« Reply #5 on: 20/01/2014 11:51:24 »
I stand corrected.
syhprum