Thursday, April 25, 2013

Quantum Physics

Quantum Physics, also known as quantum mechanics, is an abstract science that deals with the mechanical properties of the microscopic world. The wave-like behavior of energy and matter as it interacts is understood through a series of mathematical equations. These theoretical mathematical constructs originate in the works of mathematicians such as David Hilbert. The first application of quantum mechanics lies with Max Planck and Planck's Law

This law deals with the electromagnetic radiation emitted by any physical body (this is the energy emitted that causes an item to seem normal to use, or at extreme temperatures, to emit heat and appear yellow or in very hot to be invisible to the human eye such as ultraviolet radiation). Plank's law tackles the radiation emitted by a body with thermal equilibrium, such as a concave surface with black walls. Mathematics is used to determine the energy emitted by this theoretical construct.

The mathematics set the stage for a host of mathematical constructs that lead to the very diverse and wide open field of Quantum mechanics.


The 2 Half-Squads said...

I think it was Richard Feynman who said something like, "if you think you understand quantum mechanics, then you don't understand quantum mechanics." This epigram brings me some solace as I have read a number of layman's books on the topic and am just as mystified as ever. (I don't have the same problem with understanding relativity -- as long as mathematics stays out of the way.) One of my goals in pursuing a working knowledge of QM is to combat its brazen misuse by new age woo-woo pseudo-scientists who slap the Q word on every book and article, with the claim, "look, quantum mechanics proves that positive thinking and the law of attraction create reality" in the hope of bring validation -- and sales -- to their flavor of self-help. Regardless of the proofs of the works of Heisenberg, Schrodinger and others, we can no more enjoy our influence of quantum level events, such as creating reality with our thoughts, than we can enjoy the benefits of relativity's time dilation by driving fast.
But I digress.
My point in relation to your post, Stepehen, is that I still don't understand QM . . . and am not likely to. Darn!
Jeff Hallett

Stephen Chenault said...

Yeah, my work is in the History field (was working on PhD when TLG took over) so this is way beyond my normal subject area. But like you I hear "quantum" everywhere these days and it hit me yesterday that I'm like Penny from Big Bang…what the hell is it?

Turns out, its pretty cool!

Edward Hamilton said...

Hey, that's my field! I'm teaching relativity and quantum this semester, and for one of the homework assignments I had students transform the frequency formula for blackbody radiation into the wavelength formula. It's trickier than it looks.