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Q & A: atom models

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Most recent answer: 12/26/2016
Q:
Here is my train of thought and my question:Electrons have mass.Electrons influence each other.The standard model shows electrons orbiting perfectly around a nucleus without influencing or being influenced by other electrons in their path.Why is this? Would their trajectory not instead be chaotic or an extremely entangled path around the nucleus?Secondly:If electrons ARE fixed at opposite extremes of their possible distance from the nucleus, would they have a single combined vector of force (especially in the case of atoms with a large number of electrons) due to the electrons collective mass and the speed at which they are traveling?I guess what I am asking is do atoms have a force vector (inertia, direction, and aggregate mass)?
- Kenneth Mikolaichik (age 26)
Lemoore, CA, USA
A:

The problem is that what you call "the standard model", pictured on many t-shirts etc., has nothing to do with real atoms. It's just a pretty picture. Real electrons exist in cloud-like states, and they interact a lot with each other. There are no trajectories or specific positions, so the ingredients that might give rise to classical chaos aren't there to begin with.

See https://van.physics.illinois.edu/qa/listing.php?id=1295 for more discussion.

Mike W.


(published on 12/26/2016)

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