The Book of Atomic Physics of The Bible According to Einstein

The Physics of the Atom

The eleventh book of Physics

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248                        The Bible According to Einstein

The eleventh book of Physics, called

Atomic Physics

Ye shall obey these laws
with all thy heart and all thy mind.

Chapter I: Structure

Now an atom shall be the smallest unit of matter that cannot be divided without dividing charge. And it shall consist of the tiny, heavy, positively charged nucleus and the electron cloud, which is the relatively large, light, negatively charged distribution of electrons.
     Now the electrons in an atom shall orbit the nucleus as a quantum cloud, the densest parts of which are where electrons shall be most likely found. This cloud shall be a consequence of quantum physics, which rules the region of the atom and the small. Verily shall the electrons in an atom not be particles but pieces of a cloud.
     Now the "heart" of an atom shall be the nucleus, which shall contain one or many nucleons. Thus a nucleus shall consist of neutrons and of protons. And the atomic mass number shall be the number of these nucleons. And since a proton carries one positive charge, the charge of the nucleus shall be the number of these protons. And the atomic number shall be this number.

Chapter II: Charge

Now the electron cloud, which engulfs the nucleus, shall consist of one or more electrons. And since electrons are negatively charged, the electron cloud shall be negatively charged, the cloud’s total charge being the number of electrons. Now an atom shall be neutral when the number of protons equals the number of electrons. And normally an atom shall be neutral, for Nature shall provide, by the attractive electric force, a great desire for opposite charges to come together. Thus electrons shall be attracted to the nucleus by the electric force. And the nucleus and electron cloud shall be bound together like unto a beetle in a spider web. But energetic agitation can sometimes separate the two. And so atoms in hot gases shall often lose electrons, for heat shall be like a strong wind which blows free some strands of spider web. And an atom that is not neutral shall be charged and called an ion.

Chapter III: Size and Weight

Now since a nucleon weighs eighteen-hundred times the weight of an electron, the weight of an atom shall be dominated by the nucleus. Thus the mass of an atom shall be the atomic mass number times the mass of a nucleon. Now the size of most atoms shall be one-hundred-million times smaller than a centimeter. But the size of the atom, which is the size of its electron cloud, shall increase slightly with the number of electrons. And as the number of nucleons goes up, the size of the nucleus shall also grow. But the size of most nuclei shall be twenty-thousand times smaller than the atom’s size.


 
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The New Testament                                       249

     And the existence of such tiny objects will sometimes be met with skepticism, for some among ye will think that what one cannot see cannot be. But scientists shall perform experiments that provide overwhelming evidence for nuclei and atoms. And such scientists shall believe in the atom and the nucleus. And others, who have not witnessed such experiments, shall have to rely on faith.

Chapter IV: Energy Levels

Now because electrons weigh so little, they shall move rapidly about the nucleus. And since quantum mechanics shall rule the motions of electrons, each electron shall behave both like a particle and like a wave. And each electron in an atom shall satisfy the quantum wave equation and only be allowed to be in a specific quantum state. And given that there are only discrete possibilities for energies, only in certain energy levels may electrons be.
     Now an electron shall travel over all paths around the nucleus consistent with its energy. Thus one shall not be able to say that an electron at a particular time is at a particular position. Rather one shall be able to say only that there is a certain probability that the electron is at a particular position. This lack of certainty shall be represented by the cloud. And each electron in an atom shall have a contribution to the cloud. Now the cloud shall be denser in some regions and less dense in others. And a dense region in the cloud shall indicate a higher chance of finding an electron there. And a less dense region in the cloud shall represent a low chance of finding an electron there.

Chapter V: Angular Momentum States

Now the paths of an electron shall go around the nucleus. And the amount of revolution of an electron around the nucleus shall be its orbital angular momentum. Quantum mechanics shall permit only discrete possibilities for such revolutions.238 Thus angular momentum shall be quantized: it shall be an integer times Planck’s constant. Now an electron with zero angular momentum shall be an s-wave. And the electron cloud of such an s-wave electron shall be spherical in shape. Now the next-to-lowest angular momentum possibility of one unit of Planck’s constant shall be a p-wave. And there shall be three different p-wave clouds, corresponding the three directions, x, y and z, of three space. The three possible p-wave electron clouds shall look like "dumbbells" oriented in x or y or z directions. And the next-to-next-to-lowest angular momentum state, corresponding to a value of two times Planck’s constant, shall be a d-wave. And there shall be five ways to orient d-wave clouds. And after d-waves there shall be f-waves, with seven different types of clouds. And so on. All this shall follow from the quantum laws, which reign over the region of the atom and the small, for quantum mechanics shall come from the Uni-Law, which, although broken, still rules all.

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238 See Chapter XII of the Book of Quantum Mechanics.

 
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250                        The Bible According to Einstein

Chapter VI: Spectrum

Now electrons shall change their energy by emitting or absorbing photons. And for example, when a photon strikes an atom, an electron can absorb the photon and pass from a low-energy level to a higher-energy configuration. Or the opposite may happen: An electron in an excited state can emit a photon and end up in a lower state. And when such an electron "tumbles," the photon’s energy shall be the energy that the electron just has lost, for according to the Sixth Commandment, energy shall be conserved. Thus the photon’s energy shall be the difference in the energies of two atomic states. But because there are only particular possibilities for atomic energies, the energies of photons emitted or absorbed shall be discrete. These discrete possibilities for photon energies shall be the spectrum of an atom.
     Now when light or electromagnetic radiation from an atom is examined by separating it into its different energy components, the spectrum shall consist of bright lines against a dark background. And the bright lines shall be at the energies of photons emitted by the atom. And the emission spectrum shall be the name for this.
     Now when light or electromagnetic radiation passes through a collection of atoms or molecules and is separated into different energy components, the spectrum shall consist of dark lines against a bright background. A dark line shall indicate an absence of a photon, for such photons shall have been absorbed by atoms. And the absorption spectrum shall be the name for this.
     And the dark lines in the absorption spectrum shall be at the same locations as the bright lines in the emission spectrum. And why shall this be so? Because the energy needed to raise an electron from a low state to a high state is the same as the energy released when an electron tumbles from the high state to the low state. The absorption spectrum shall correspond to processes in which electrons raise their energy, whereas the emission spectrum shall correspond to processes in which electrons tumble and lose energy.
     Now because the energy levels are different for each type of atom, the spectrum of a particular atom shall be unique. And for example, the spectrum of oxygen shall be different from hydrogen or carbon. Likewise, molecules shall have their characteristic and specific set of spectral lines. Thus the spectrum of an atom or a molecule shall uniquely specify the atom or the molecule, just as a fingerprint uniquely specifies a human being.

 
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