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Q & A: how can an electron move two ways at once?

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Most recent answer: 08/30/2011
Q:
how does electron moves clockwise and anticlockwise at the same time..if this is so there should be a greater repulsion and distort the shape of the whole atom..
- sohel (age 17)
Dammamm,saudi arabia
A:
Think of a classical wave, say a water wave since it's easy to visualize. You can make a wave going north or a wave going south, and you can make a wave consisting of both those parts. To a very good approximation, the total wave is just the sum of the two parts. Likewise you can have an electron wave going around the atom one way or the opposite way, or a wave combining those two parts. Something similar holds for all sorts of properties of electrons and other small objects. Their waves (all small things exist as quantum waves) are in general combinations of parts with a range of properties: position, velocity, often energy.

Mike W.

(published on 08/30/2011)

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