Category Special Relativity

Hydrogenic Atoms and the Bohr Model

As we move up the periodic table atoms get heavier. They do so because the nuclei of heavier atoms contain more protons.  In addition to the protons these heavier nuclei also contain another type of particle; the neutron, roughly equal in mass to the proton, but itself electrically neutral. So while the hydrogen atom comprises […]

Einstein and Bohr and the nature of reality

Perhaps the most important scientific debate of the 20th Century was that which took place between Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein during the 1930’s and 40’s. At issue was the very nature of reality. By that time Bohr had become convinced that the laws of physics had to be different on the scale of the […]

Shedding some light on the nature of the photon

Visible light is just a small part of a much of a much broader spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, ranging from radio waves at one end through microwaves, visible light and X Rays to gamma rays at the other end of the spectrum. All of these different and seemingly diverse types of radiation are the various […]

Michelson Morley – the most successful failed experiment

Maxwell’s equations showed the link between electricity and magnetism in space.  A changing electric current produced a magnetic field and a changing magnetic field produced an electric current.  These appear to be related through a pair of constants, permeability and permittivity. Permeability and permittivity appeared to be properties of space itself, but as such they […]

Muon Rings and Frequency

There is a great deal of experimental evidence to support Einstein’s Special Theory of relativity.  One of the more convincing experiments was carried out at CERN in 1977 and involved measuring the lifetimes of particles called muons in an apparatus called the muon storage ring[1].   The muon is an atomic particle which carries an electric […]

Schrödinger’s Quantum Stagecoach!

One of the most popular film genres of the 20th Century was the Cowboy or Western and one of the most popular themes in western movies was that of the stagecoach. The stagecoach provided movie makers with a powerful metaphor. Outside the environment was hostile, full of Indians or outlaws, hell bent on doing evil […]

Johannes Rydberg

The Rydberg Formula

In Sampling the Hydrogen Atom I introduced the idea that the orbital velocity of the electron is close to light speed and is itself affected by relativity. Derivation of the Rydberg formula based on this model is very straightforward and I think rather elegant. The story starts with Joseph Jakob Balmer (1825-1898) who was a Swiss […]