Modern Physics Essay

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“Beam me up, Scotty!” The unseen realities and “spooky” phenomena of modern day physics demand from the modern day scientist an open-mindedness to an extent of which was never before necessary in scientific study. First we’ll begin by looking at the basics… which are not so basic anymore. Any high school level physics class teaches us that atoms are the basic makeup of all matter. The idea of the atom is actually ancient: It originated with the Greeks in the 5th century B.C. Much later, 19th century chemists provided indirect evidence strongly suggesting that matter consists of atoms. However, no one had seen an atom until the mid 20th century, with the invention of the electron-microscope. Thus, the question of whether atoms actually existed was a subject of debate among scientists in the early years of the 20th century. Today it is known that atoms are made up of three basic particles: the electron, proton and neutron. Protons and neutrons make up the nucleus of the atom, and electrons orbit the nucleus in a way similar to the planets’ orbit of the sun. Or at least that’s what one would learn in high school physics. Actually, quantum physics today tells us that electrons do not orbit the nucleus of an atom, but occupy a probability distribution in the proximity of the nucleus of the atom, in which they “pop” in and out of existence. Electrons don’t simply exist as particles that can be observed, but also function as waves, similar in behavior to radio waves. This means that electrons exist as a particle with mass and a wave without mass at the very same time! Einstein was among the first to postulate the wave−particle duality of electrons. The classic example of this sort of behavior is the Double-slit Experiment. Imagine that we have a source of projectile on one side of a wall (say, Dick Cheney with a shotgun), and some sort of

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