One of the most significant theories – and quite possibly the most popular theory – in the history of Physics would be the Quantum Theory, or the study of Quantum Mechanics. The Quantum Theory is responsible for explaining how atoms behave a certain way, or how elements can combine in order to form molecules. The theory also helps us understand how light behaves; from its speed, to how black holes behave. You’ll be surprised that it wasn’t just Albert Einstein who played a hand at it. For more facts about Quantum Mechanics, here is everything you need to know about its history in 10 facts. You’re welcome.
Fact 1: In the year 1990, renowned German physicist Max Planck proposed a hypothesis. Planck believed that the energy absorbed or emitted by any physical body that absorbs radiation comes in small, discrete amounts. Although the German physicist was never satisfied with his hypothesis being just a localized description of the behavior of blackbodies, his hypothesis gave birth to the claim that energy itself can come only in discrete amounts; the quanta of the quantum theory.
Fact 2: The most successful classical theory of an atom ever to be raised was done by Ernest Rutherford. Prior to the development of the Quantum Theory, Rutherford created a formula wherein negatively charged electrons orbit a positively charged nucleus. Ernest Rutherford’s model predicts that radiation given off by a Hydrogen atom may result in a set of possible energies depending on the distance of its electron from the nucleus.
Fact 3: 1913 marked the year famous Danish physicist Niels Henrik Bohr introduced to the world the hypothesis that electrons in an atom can only be certain distances from the nucleus. The radiation released by the atom, as well as the differing orbits, has corresponding sets of energies.
Fact 4: By the year 1926, Werner Heisenberg’s Matrix Mechanics and Erwin Schrödinger’s Wave Mechanics made their debut. The experimental and theoretical work present within the two paradigms was made possible with the help of several physicists and twelve year’s work in the he field.
Fact 5: English theoretical physicist and mathematician Paul Dirac, together with several of the world’s greatest minds, ventured into the world of relativistic field theories. With work on the quantum theory underway, the physicists struggled to incorporate the force of gravity, more importantly Einstein’s relativistic field theory of gravity, into the framework.
Fact 6: In 1935, Schrödinger’s cat came to be. The legendary example paints a picture of a cat in an unfortunate scenario. A cat is contained inside a box alongside a radioactive substance, with the probability of decay within half an hour. Decay is then detected by a Geiger counter, which releases poison as the slightest hint of decay. The end of the hour calls for determining whether or not the cat is alive or dead, the state of definite position indeterminate with regard to momentum.
Fact 7: A theory by David Bohm and Louis de Broglie in 1920 states that particles have always had determinate positions. These positions evolve as a function of their own initial position and the other particles within the universe. Probabilities of standard quantum theory are achieved by averaging the possible initial positions of the particles.
Fact 8: The phrase “Quantum Mechanics”, read as Quantenmechanik in German, was coined by a group of reputable physics with the likes of Max Born, Wolfgang Pauli, and Werner Heisenberg during the 1920s while attending The University of Gottingen.
Fact 9: During 1905, Albert Einstein explained that the photoelectric effect, or all electromagnetic radiation, may be divided into a finite number of energy quanta which are localized points in space.
Fact 10: Famed physicists Glashow, Weinberg and Salam, won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their independent study on weak nuclear force and Quantum Electrodynamics could be merged into one electroweak force.