## Chapter 3

# The micro world

## 3.2 Electron orbitals and atomic nuclei

Let us reflect on how our observation of the universe can be connected to typical effects in the quantum world in relation to the above explanations.

Anyone can raise the objection that electrons in atoms evidently do not behave the way planets orbit around the sun – the shape of their probabilistic orbital is far more complicated, depending on the quantum numbers determined by solutions of corresponding wave equations.

And so, we raise our hat to the genius of Richard Feynman. During a physics lecture at Cornell University, in relation to the double-slit experiment, Feynman (as later published in his book [35]) famously proclaimed:

*„I will take just this one experiment, which has been designed to contain all of the mystery of quantum mechanics, to put you up against the paradoxes and mysteries and peculiarities of nature one hundred per cent. Any other situation in quantum mechanics, it turns out, can always be explained by saying: You remember the case of the experiment with the two holes? It’s the same thing.“*

The double-slit experiment answers this question too (!). To an observer in the macro world, atomic shells exhibit a resonant wave behaviour showing the probabilistic maxima and minima, just like the observation during the doubleslit experiment without a quantum detector.

Yet we know that when we perform the double-slit experiment, using a detector will move the observer into the micro world: the pattern on the screen changes and we can see the dispersed particles that can be described using Newton’s classical mechanics.

Literally the same applies for atomic shells. An observer from the macro world “sees” in “his” micro world complex electron orbitals described by the corresponding wave function (with all consequences regarding the forces or geometry etc.), whereas an observer located in this micro world notes a circular “Newtonian” motion of clearly defined bodies or planets.

We can imagine the horizon of cognition as a kind of veil or curtain hiding a world that is similar to ours. In this sense, the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics is valid. To an observer in the macro world, a quantum particle exhibits a chaotic-resonant wave character with all the subsequent consequences, and this originates due to the quantisation of spacetime. But if we remove this curtain by moving into the micro world (direct detection or interaction such as photoelectric effect), we can perceive its actual behaviour as a particle.

The absolute value of the wave function squared expresses the probability density of a particle viewed from the macro world. We can consider this as a description corresponding to the resonance structure of a given system that is manifested as a consequence of the corresponding particle’s motion when being observed – because resonance, too, is motion. But to an observer in the micro world, the same particle may actually move or occur in a completely different place than shown by the corresponding vibrational characteristics of the macro world view.

Imagine a teaspoon in a glass of water. The part that is under water shows itself “elsewhere”. Perhaps it is also somewhat similar to strumming a tuned string instrument. From a macro perspective we cannot see the strumming, but we can perceive the tones and vibrations of it.

If we now look into the atomic nuclei, it is important to consider that the “interval quantisation” occurring at the horizon of cognition concerns all quantities (i.e. not only time and space, but also energy, mass, etc.). This means that, in our observation, matter itself also (inevitably) divides into a discrete set of states, which we, from the macro-world perspective, observe, measure and evaluate as “individual” particles, with all their resonance states, manifestations etc. This quantisation is valid also for all the structural sub-levels of atomic nuclei (therefore we can observe their "sub-particles", like neutrons and protons, and further quarks in the neutrons and protons structure).

But all this is just the effect of the horizon of cognition – should we move our observer (make him smaller) into the dimension of an atom, in its nucleus would this observer generally detect no such inhomogeneity of the structure.

The next sections cover also particles/quanta with zero rest mass. But before we do that, we can take a look at other typical effects in the quantum world.

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