Category Standard Model

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 […]

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 […]

James Clerk Maxwell

Can electric charge exist in the absence of a charged particle?

Up until the 1820’s the only magnets that were known were lodestones and magnets made of iron such as compass needles.  Then in 1820 Hans Christian Oersted was conducting a demonstration of the heating of a wire by means of an electric current.  Coincidentally he also planned a demonstration of the effects of magnetism for […]

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 […]

William of Occam

A Close Shave for a Mediaeval Monk

The tiny village of Ockham is located about 7 miles north east of the Guildford in southern England. Its history is largely agricultural and it currently boasts a population of just under 400, probably not much different to the Ockham of the middle ages when Ockham was home to its most famous son, William of Occam (mediaeval spelling […]

Quantization of angular momentum ?

To date all models for the structure of the atom are based on a hypothesis first put forward by the British physicist John Nicholson in 1911.  Nicholson recognized that the units of Planck’s constant were those of angular momentum and so he reasoned that Planck’s constant was the angular momentum of the electron orbiting the […]