Re: FW: FWIW - RE: [SI-LIST] : Atomic animation

Vinu Arumugham (vinu@cisco.com)
Wed, 24 Feb 1999 09:29:20 -0800

Johnson, David wrote:

> Just FWIW, to clarify (I hope) the question of whether an orbiting electron
> is a particle or an energy wave, what happens if we shoot a neutron through
> an atom such that it misses the nucleus? Can the neutron ever "collide"
> with orbiting electron particles, or does the neutron just pass straight
> through the electron "shells" more or less undisturbed (neglecting gravity)?

I think you can look at it both ways. When a neutron passes through the "shells", the wave functions of the electrons will change and show a higher probability of finding them in other orbitals or outside the atom, corresponding
to the collision or knocking scenario in the particle model.

That's my spin!

> Can a "flying" neutron knock an orbiting electron to another orbit or out of
> an atom altogether? (My particle physics is a bit rusty and was never very
> good in the first place, not to mention never having had any courses in
> quantum mechanics.)
>
> ---- Dave W. Johnson
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Douglas McKean [mailto:dmckean@corp.auspex.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 1999 3:16 PM
> To: si-list@silab.Eng.Sun.COM
> Subject: FWIW - RE: [SI-LIST] : Atomic animation
>
> > As an aside, I had forgotten how much "empty space" there actually is in
> > an
> > atom until I recently read the following analogy (which may not be correct
> > at all). The allegation was that if a typical atom (defined by the size of
> > the electron rings) were the size of the earth, the nucleus would be the
> > size of a football field! Is that even close to the truth?
>
> FWIW Department,
>
> I think those analogies are based on the Bohr atom model -
> perfectly round nucleus, perfectly spherical electron orbits, ...
> Nuclei diameters are on order of about 10^-4 pm. The radius
> of a Cu atom is about 1.29 pm. So there's a factor of roughly
> 10,000 or there abouts. So here's some 1:10,000 analogies ...
>
> If the nucleas was a The electron would be
> -------------------- ---------------------
> Golf Ball (about 1.6" D) About 1/4 of a mile away
>
> Softball (about 4" D) About 3/4 of a mile away
> Actually a little less.
>
> Basketball (about 10" D) About 1.5 miles away and with this
> analogy the electron would be about
> the size of a marble.
>
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