Talk:Quantum mechanics

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Most accurate?

Not any more! See the article by Penrose that says that quantum field theory has been tested to one part in 1011 while an aspect of General Relativity has been tested to one part in 1014! — Preceding unsigned comment added by RockMagnetist (talkcontribs) at 17:18, 15 January 2012

History

I am changing this statement around because of its inaccuracy:

"The first study of quantum mechanics goes back to the 17th and 18th centuries when scientists such as Robert Hooke, Christian Huygens and Leonhard Euler proposed a wave theory of light based on experimental observations."

This is not accurate Young et all were not studying quantum mechanics, neither was that their intention, but merely studying the properties of light. This would be like claiming ancient attempts to understand light were studies of electromagnetism, it confuses the issue. Just because Young et all studied light does not mean he knew, wanted, or was studying quantum systems. Second the source listed for this sentence does not even make that claim, and is not a work on the history of quantum mechanics, but an advanced science text book on optics. Belief action

Separate article on exact solutions?

Please see this section.

Any thoughts on cutting out all of the exact solutions to the non-relativistic Schro equation in this article, and merging with the content of the exact non-relativistic solutions in the Schrödinger equation article, together forming a specialized article Schrödinger equation (exact solutions) as suggested here?

Then this article (quantum mechanics) and Schrödinger equation would be shorter with less mathematics, as they link to the exact solutions article. I know that examples within context are useful, but a link to examples is just as good.

Thanks in advance. If there is no opposition, I'll go for it. M∧Ŝc2ħεИτlk 12:47, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Maschen, I support the idea. Might I request that the pictures of the exact solutions, such as particle in a well, Hydrogen atom, etc., be retained in this article, perhaps shrunk to thumbnail form? It might be noted that exact solutions are few in number. --Ancheta Wis   (talk | contribs) 21:50, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
A belated thanks for the only feedback on this matter, Ancheta Wis. I haven't had much chance to actually make it happen, but soon shall, given that no-one has ever objected. Yes, indeed the number of exact solutions will be few, but that doesn't stop anything. M∧Ŝc2ħεИτlk 08:18, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
I just realized there is the article List of quantum-mechanical systems with analytical solutions. So no need for a new article. M∧Ŝc2ħεИτlk 09:15, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
I have now added that list to the See also section of this article, which will help bring it to the attention of interested readers. Dirac66 (talk) 01:18, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks! Why on Earth didn't I do that myself?!? M∧Ŝc2ħεИτlk 16:43, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 17 January 2014

The following book in the further reading section is for lay people.
Cox, Brian; Forshaw, Jeff (2011). The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does Happen. Allen Lane. ISBN 1-84614-432-9.
Would it be better if it is either removed or moved to the other section? James (talk) 09:07, 17 January 2014 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done The Notes, References, and Further reading sections are a mess. The Notes should be called References, the books in References should be included in Further reading and there should be a consistent author naming format. Unfortunately I don't know which of the books currently in "Further reading" should go into the "lay" list and which into the "technical" list. Arjayay (talk) 09:41, 17 January 2014 (UTC)

As a rough guide, we could say that the books which use words with very few mathematical equations are for lay people, while those books which are full of equations are more technical. I glanced at the free excerpt of Cox and Forshaw and it looks like a lay book to me. Also I have read the book by Scerri on the periodic table and I would classify it as a lay book. Dirac66 (talk) 11:51, 17 January 2014 (UTC)

Quantum mechanics as "foundation of chemistry" (?)

This sentence is very useful as quantum mechanics, an invention residing firmly in the domain of physics, is connected to one of the other primary branches of science, chemistry.

"Quantum mechanics forms the foundation of chemistry by explaining the periodic table and the behavior of elements in chemical bonding, and also by providing the practical basis for countless technologies."

I have rewritten the sentence to remove some of its glaring generalizations. In particular, "forms the foundation of chemistry", "explaining the periodic table", and "countless technologies".

I think the new sentence is implicitly more constructive and accurate:

"Quantum mechanics provides a substantially useful framework for many features of the modern periodic table of elements including the behavior of atoms during chemical bonding and has played a significant role in the development of many modern technologies."

First, QM does not broadly form the foundation of chemistry (or, at least, many chemists would argue with this point!) Indeed, if QM were the foundation of chemistry then chemistry would logically become "physics". It is not, and frankly there are many things in chemistry that QM simply has not explained. For one -- exactly what is the physical nature of the periodic law (but this discussion is not appropriate to Wikipedia nor its talk page, so I'll move on).

Second, QM does not explain the entire periodic table. It's also, certainly not the historical foundation of the periodic table. Again, I think chemists would argue against such language, and I, as a physicist, would be on their side of that argument.

Third, "countless technologies" is simply too much to believe. Technologies are countable. I would also argue that QM doesn't necessarily provide a "practical" basis for such technologies as QM is still largely based on mathematical abstractions that exhibit consistently with real, measurable things (consider Einstein's lamentation about how QM does not get us any closer to an understanding of the "Old One" -- that is, a deeper understanding of the physical universe). The foundation of QM is the wavefunction which itself has no physical counterpart/interpretation.

Though this section on the Talk page is somewhat in the territory of being "about the topic" and not so much about the details of the page itself, I think it is a worthwhile section as we develop this Wikipedia page on a subject that is often considered the greatest invention of humankind. Some care with our language will go a long way.

Again, I strongly appreciate inclusion of this sentence, but it needed some fine tuning. TJ LaFave (talk) 02:06, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

General or special relativity?

The fourth sentence now reads It is the non-relativistic limit of quantum field theory (QFT), a theory later developed to combine quantum mechanics and relativity., with the word relativity linked to the article on General relativity. I am under the impression that QFT, or at least its earlier versions, combines QM with special relativity, and that a combination with general relativity is still somewhat elusive. If so, the sentence should really say special relativity and be linked there. Or am I confused about this? Dirac66 (talk) 03:13, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

It's a well-known fact that GR is not renormalizable as a QFT, still an outstanding problem. You are right that relativistic QFT is special relativity and quantum fields, nothing to do with general relativity. The sentence as it reads is wrong and not helpful in the lead, detracting from the subject of the QM of particles, so I just removed it. M∧Ŝc2ħεИτlk 08:58, 19 February 2014 (UTC)