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PostSubject: Quantum mechanics   Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:09 pm

Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic scales, the so-called quantum realm. In advanced topics of quantum mechanics, some of these behaviors are macroscopic and only emerge at very low or very high energies or temperatures. The name, coined by Max Planck, derives from the observation that some physical quantities can be changed only by discrete amounts, or quanta, as multiples of the Planck constant, rather than being capable of varying continuously or by any arbitrary amount. For example, the angular momentum, or more generally the action, of an electron bound into an atom or molecule is quantized. While an unbound electron does not exhibit quantized energy levels, an electron bound in an atomic orbital has quantized values of angular momentum. In the context of quantum mechanics, the wave–particle duality of energy and matter and the uncertainty principle provide a unified view of the behavior of photons, electrons and other atomic-scale objects. It should be noted that many of the so called Mysteries of Quantum Mechanics, such as the wave-particle duality, are actually misleading; the microscopic objects behave in a very different way than do classical objects, and this kind of incorrect terminology arises only when trying to explain such behaviour in terms of ideas of particles and waves that one is already familiar with from everyday experience.

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