Electron as Smeared Cloud
Most recent answer: 02/24/2015
- David (age 29)
What you're teaching sounds very nice, more accurate and sophisticated than what is usually taught. That cloud for hydrogen in its ground state extends out from the nucleus as you say, but is actually densest right in the middle.
This site http://www.falstad.com/ has some great applets for picturing the behavior of those smeared wave functions. I don't see any on it for molecules like water with three atoms, however. There is a large collection of static images you could use here: https://www.google.com/search?q=visualizing+molecular+wave+functions&espv=2&biw=1370&bih=603&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=Y6nwVIyfE82xyQS964F4&ved=0CD4QsAQ
â€‹If your students would like to see real evidence for the smeared-out wavy behavior of electrons, these scanning tunneling microscope pictures of metallic surfaces are great: http://researcher.watson.ibm.com/researcher/view_group_subpage.php?id=4252. Don Eigler, who developed this beautiful technique, was an undergrad who liked to skateboard barefoot around the physics building at UCSD when I was a grad student there.
p.s. You may be amused by this old thread: http://van.physics.illinois.edu/qa/listing.php?id=28187.
(published on 02/24/2015)