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On 10 Dec 1998 12:46:38 GMT, Daan Hubert wrote:
>I've been wondering why an electron (negative charge) does not fall onto
>the nucleus (positive charge).
Quantum mechanics models it something like this: The electron does
not orbit the nucleus, rather its position from moment to moment
follows the behavior of a standing wave. Its excitation level depends
on how many integer waves comprise the standing wave. Thus its orbit
is akin to a resonance.
The electron cannot merge with the nucleus because the low-mass
electron does not have the energy needed to be restricted to such a
small volume as the nucleus. The uncertainty principle, broadly,
allows your precision of positionality and momentum to have a minimal
product. The electron's standing wave is in accordance with the
uncertainty in position (which is aligned with energy). If the
electron were suddenly to be absorbed by the nucleus, its uncertainty
in position would be grossly reduced -- thus can only be achieved by a
large infusion of energy to allow its uncertainty in momentum to
greatly increase. This does not happen except in most extraordinary
Oh well, clear as mud eh?