R Allan Barker science  technology  history  philosophy + curiosity  
Last update December 5, 2013 
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What do electrons do, really? Perhaps
one of the best clues to how electrons might behave at the
quantum level comes from the following video. The video shows a
single continuous simulation using wave equations that describe
electrons and electromagnetic waves of light. Everything shown in the
video is output directly
from the simulation and nothing has been drawn or illustrated.
The music is Tchaikovsky's Waltz from Serenade for Strings and
describes the electron's motions amazingly well. Please listen. The
horizontal scale for light waves is compressed to show the
individual waves. The frequency is correct. In order, the video shows:


The
equation used for the simulation couples the time dependent Schrodinger
equation with a scalar electromagnetic potential function
A(r,t) from Maxwell's equations. The Cd time derivative term is
responsible for spontaneous emission. 
High speed replay Atomic electrons can move incredibly fast. This high speed playback gives a slightly different sense of movement. 
Discussion After reading many descriptions of mysterious electrons, quantum jumps and photons, it's surprising to learn the concepts have always been controversial. Here's what Heisenberg said about Schrodinger's work. The
more
I think about the physical part of the Schrödinger theory,
the more detestable I find it. What Schrödinger writes about
visualization makes scarcely any sense, in other words I think it is
shit. The greatest result of his theory is the calculation of matrix
elements. Heisenberg to Pauli, 1926.
Comments are welcome. Please send me an email here, and I will post your comments below. Letter from Heisenberg to Pauli, 8 June 1926, quoted in Walter Moore, Schrödinger: Life and Thought (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1989) page 221. 