Why Everyone Can — and Should — Learn About Quantum Mechanics
(Salon.com) Dr. Scott Bembenek provides a lengthy discussion of quantum mechanics and its early researchers and their theories. The premise of the article is that “Quantum mechanics is not rocket science — it’s a fundamental part of how our world works, and not as complex as you might fear.” The fame of quantum mechanics theories stands in juxtaposition to the physical “weirdness” they manifest – even some of the scientists who discovered these theories were set aback by the startling consequences. It’s no wonder Einstein remarked, “The more success the quantum theory has, the sillier it looks.” But as “silly” as it may seem, the physical implications of quantum mechanics are real, and not nearly as complicated nor inaccessible as they might seem.
Energy Comes in Chunks: Matter can only emit or absorb energy in specific “chunks”! In other words, the energy values allowed are discrete rather than a continuous distribution.
The Wave–Particle Duality: Light that can be understood as a kind of fusion of the wave and [particle] theories of light.
Nature Is Fundamentally Probabilistic: When an atom spontaneously gives off a photon — a phenomenon called “spontaneous emission” — the direction in which the photon is emitted and its momentum are determined purely by “chance.”
Quantum Particles Are Indistinguishable: Nature provides no way to tell two photons of the same frequency apart.