I know it sounds sort of corny, but I believe Austen’s Pride and Prejudice should be on here. I’m still only a teenager, but reading Austen makes me feel enlightened. She manages to capture the reality of social life quite perfectly; the parties; the joys; the vanities; the inequities. Her display seems satirical, in a stretch, yet highly accurate in its attempt. The novel is not sententiously written, but its lessons are well seen. She has opened my life to the understanding of human behavior more, has given me an interesting novel to pass the hours, and has left me with a profound inspiration. As i said, I am only a teenager, but this novel deserves to be recognized as truly life-changing.
Quantum theory posits that energy must be "packaged" in finite amounts, analagous to money. You can spend 25 cents or 26 cents, but not 25 1/2 cents. Under quantum rules, electrons cannot "spend" (lose) enough energy to collapse into the proton, so happily stay where they are. They can, however, gain a finite amount of energy and rise to a specific higher energy level. Because specific energy translates into a specific electromagentic frequecy, this behavior gives rise to dark "Fraunhaufer lines" in the Sun's spectrum. The loss of that same finite amount of energy by energetic electrons explains the bright line spectra emitted by glowing gases, such as neon.
Answered by: Paul Walorski, ., Part-time Physics Instructor
Answer This question was one of those which sparked off the quantum mechanics revolution at the beginning of the twentieth century. Rutherford had discovered that the atom was made of positively and negatively charged particles and immediately everyone asked, "How on Earth can they just sit there together?" Rutherford himself proposed that electrons were held in orbit by their velocity around the nucleus in the same way that the Earth is held in orbit around the Sun. It soon became clear however that electrons would radiate their energy away and therefore it was a mystery why they didn't fall into the nucleus. The answer came from Pauli, Dirac and other physicists working on quantum theory in the 1910s and 1920s. Ultimately it involved a change in the way we think of particles. Instead of being a dot of mass, we think now of electrons being a fuzzy cloud spread over the entire atom (and even further.) The cloud represents the probablity of finding an electron at any particular point. So the electron doesn't orbit the nucleus at all but is in some sense distributed throughout the atom at every moment. Heisenberg figured out that the more you squash the electron cloud into a small space the less you know how fast it is travelling. Working with this image of the electron, it is impossible to find the electron in the nucleus permanently - you would know its speed and its position exactly. So it would violate quantum laws of physics.
Answered by: Sally Riordan, ., Management Consultant, London
Answer Mass of proton : x 10 -27 kg
Mass of neutron: x 10 -27 kg
Mass of electron: x 10 -27 kg Since the mass of a proton plus the mass of an electron is less than that of a neutron, a large amount of energy (E=mc2) is required to combine them. The electrostatic potential energy is not suffcient to do this. However sometimes gravitation energy can be. When stars run out of fuel, they cool down and eventually contract due to their own gravity. Stars like our sun form white dwarfs, but those about times heavier become supernovas and collapse to form a neutron star. The gravitation force actually converts potential energy into mass by forcing protons and electrons to combine into neutrons. All light elements like unfused hydrogen will have been lost during the red giant stage, but the principle is still the same
Answered by: Stuart Taylor, Chemistry graduate student, Oxford
Science Quote 'Arrows of hate have been shot at me too, but they have never hit me, because somehow they belonged to another world with which I have no connection whatsoever.'
( 1879-1955 )