New PDF release: Stairway to the mind

By Alwyn Charles Scott

ISBN-10: 0387943811

ISBN-13: 9780387943817

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This function, called the Born-Oppenheimer potential energy surface, is the grail of quantum chemistry. For a molecule composed of N atoms, the Born-Oppenheimer function can be written as where Xl is the x-coordinate of the first atom, YI is the y-coordinate of the first atom, ... , and ZN is the z-coordinate of the Nth atom. The change in Vo as each of these components (Xl, YI,"" ZN) is varied gives the force in that particular direction. Thus a knowledge of Vo together with Newton's second law (acceleration equals force divided by mass) allows one to make classical calculations of the ways that a chemical molecule can vibrate.

Eight years after receiving the Nobel Prize, Planck was sent six papers from another physicist, the first of which arrived at Annalen der Physik on January 27, 1926 (Schrodinger, 1926). " Unlike Planck's own work on blackbody radiation, this paper considered the simplest chemical element in the universe: the hydrogen atom, which consists of a single positively charged proton circled by a single negatively charged electron. The author of the manuscript was Erwin Schrodinger (1887-1961), an Austrian physicist, philosopher, and sometime poet, who had happened to pass the previous Christmas vacation with a mysterious lady friend at a villa near Davos in Switzerland.

One alternative to this dissatisfaction with the structure of quantum theory has been to suppose that Schrodinger's equation might be an approximation to some not yet discovered nonlinear theory. Since Heisenberg's uncertainty principle-and the collapse of the wave function-arise from the linearity of Schrodinger's equation, a nonlinear version might evade the problem of a collapsing wave function (de Broglie, 1960). Physicists have recently explored this possibility by attempting to detect a nonlinear pattern to the atomic energy levels in metallic ions.

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Stairway to the mind by Alwyn Charles Scott


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