Sample Physics Paper on My Understanding of Quantum Mechanics

Sample Physics Paper on My Understanding of Quantum Mechanics

Quantum mechanics is concerned with mathematical explanation of relations and movement of very small particles. The movement of these particles exists in a mist of probability. Their chances of appearing in various locations can be estimated (Sakurai and Jim). Quantum mechanics mainly originated from some mathematical aspects in experiments that the classical mechanics had failed to explain. Quantum mechanics came up was in the 20th century, the same time that Albert Einstein was working on his relativity theory.

The theory of relativity stated that the speed by which light travels in a vacuum was non-dependent on motion of its observers. The theory was a breakthrough in physics because it described the motion of objects moving at high speed. Quantum mechanics is more concerned with how sub-atomic particle behave at their smallest levels. It is viewed as among the most successful branches of physics with numerous scientific experiments to back it up. These experiments confirm predictions made by quantum mechanics.


Quantum mechanics is concerned with movements and interactions of particularly tiny particles. The particles that most people are aware of include the electrons of the atoms.  Particles form an atom, are the elementary constituents of the universe. Neutrons and protons are also made up of other small particles commonly known as quarks. Quarks are basic particles held together by gluons, which are also particles but different from quarks. The strong force emitted by gluons is accountable for holding the quarks together. This energy is also in charge of holding the neutrons and protons collectively in the nuclei. Quarks and electrons are considered as the creating matter while gluons are deemed as the cremating forces. There are four types of forces discussed in physics lessons: electromagnetic force, strong force, gravity and the weak force.

Model of basic particles

The standard representation of simple particles aims to describe the behavior of particles in the universe except gravity. Gravity is left out because how it operates in the quantum world is not clearly understood. There are substance particles of fermions which are further broken down into leptons and quarks. The names of the quarks include; up, charm, down, top, strange, and bottom. Leptons are; muon, tau, electron, electron neutrino, tau neutrino, and muon neutrino. There are also other particles known as the force carriers or gauge bosons (“Atlas Collaboration”). Force carriers are: gluons, photons (particles of light), W and Z bosons (carry weak nuclear force), and higgs boson (higgs field give other particles their mass). Graviton is responsible for the mediation of gravitational force.

Quantum leap

In the past, it was believed that in sub-atomic stage, energy can only be released and absorbed in secret smallest units known as quanta. This implied that electrons can only move in fixed orbit around the nucleus because of the discreet amount in which they gain energy. When electrons are excited, they discharge or absorb specific energy quanta making them to leap from one energy level to another. This is what is termed as the quantum leap.

Wave-like behavior

The double slit experiment in physics exposed an interesting aspect of particles. It was discovered that particles exhibit both particle –like and wave-like behavior. A larger scale version of this experiment would have tennis balls shot at a detector from a gun one by one. The detector registers where the balls land. Between the detector and the gun, a barrier with two slits was placed to leave openings to allow the tennis balls to pass through.

The result of the experiment showed that the balls that had not been blocked by the barrier landed directly behind the slits. When this experiment is replicated in sub-atomic scale, where electrons are used instead of tennis balls, the result was different contrary to the expectations of the scientists. The electrons that go past the barrier through the slits did not just land behind the slits, but formed narrow strips across the length of the detector. Other electrons even landed in the center of the obstruction. This is an interference pattern that is related with the behavior of waves. When two waves interact, their peak will combine to form even higher peak and their troughs combine to form a deeper trough

Quantum mechanics goes further to explain that when particles are entangled, they can communicate with each other at a faster than light speed. The theory of relativity ruled out such a possibility and Einstein called this phenomenon a spooky action at a distance and was not impressed by the reasons given the quantum mechanics. He offered his own theory to counter that of the quantum mechanics on the behavior of particles. Einstein said that when particles are entangled, it was decided what state they will each have when measured in given direction and that there was no communication between the entangled particles when measured after separation.

According to Einstein, the particles never possessed mysterious superposition of being spin up and spin down until when they were measured. He disputed that the position of entanglement decided the spin a particle would have. Experiments done by scientists such as professor John Bell showed that Einstein explanation broke down while quantum mechanic’s explanation remained consistent. Bell’s experiments proved that the spin of tangled particles was not specifically defined in all the directions of measurements.

Quantum tunneling

This phenomena state that particles have the ability to cross barriers they are expected not to be able to cross. The reason given is particle’s wave function which the same reason is given for the nuclear fusion of the sun (Gatteschi and Roberta 270). Helium and other elements are formed when hydrogen atoms in the sun combine together resulting to the release of huge amount of energy. Hydrogen nuclear consists of protons which are positively hence they repel instead of attracting. It requires huge amount of heat to make the nuclear come together and the sun’s heat cannot provide the needed quantity of heat to conquer the repulsion. These nuclei triumph over repulsion force through quantum repulsion. The resulting fusion fuels the sun to produce steady heat.

Importance of QM

Quantum theory is the back-bone of the entire electronics industry. The principles of quantum mechanics contributed to the discovery of lasers, integrated circuit and transistors. The future seems to have great potential for quantum mechanics and evidence is the underway development of quantum computer (Bethe and Edwin). The particles ability to be at various states at once would increase the computing power exponentially. The theory has also allowed for teleportation using entangled particles

Quantum mechanics is useful and has helped improve the lives of human beings by promoting technological advancement. From the studies done, it is clear that teleportation of human beings should not be discussed before ethical concerns and queries are answered adequately.


Works Cited

Atlas Collaboration. “Observation of a new particle in the search for the Standard Model Higgs boson with the ATLAS detector at the LHC.” arXiv preprint arXiv: 1207.7214 (2012).

Bethe, Hans A., and Edwin E. Salpeter. Quantum mechanics of one-and two-electron atoms. Springer Science & Business Media, 2012.

Gatteschi, Dante, and Roberta Sessoli. “Quantum tunneling of magnetization and related phenomena in molecular materials.” Angewandte Chemie International Edition 42.3 (2003): 268-297.

Sakurai, Jun John, and Jim Napolitano. Modern quantum mechanics. Addison-Wesley, 2011.