The history of quantum mechanics – Part II

So as promised… I’m back with the next discussion. If you remember, we were to discuss the prologue of our quantum drama..I mean the riddles which compelled the physicists and chemists to think of a wider explanation.

Before quantum theory was conceived, physicists were unable to explain some of the most ubiquitous phenomena in our environment. Here are a few examples:
A piece of iron, when heated, becomes first red, then yellow, then white, but no body could explain why. The different colors emitted by a piece of matter come from the irregular heat motion of the electrons in the atoms of iron. Fast motion emits higher frequencies of light than slow motion. The frequency determines the color of the light. The laws of thermodynamics tell us that any form of motion should receive the same amount of energy at a given temperature, an amount that increases when the temperature rises. Thus we expect only an increase of intensity of the emitted light ( must glow more bright dark) not a change from red to yellow to white. This change represented an unsolved riddle, somewhat like today’s ignorance of the nature of memory. We use memory constantly, but nobody knows precisely what it is.

We can consider more examples of unsolved questions of that period: Why are copper and silver metals and oxygen a gas? Why do metals have properties so different from other solids, such as rocks? Why do these properties persist, even after heating, melting, evaporating, and subsequent cooling to the original temperature? Why do oxygen atoms bind to hydrogen atoms to form water? Why does sodium gas emit yellow light when heated? Why is it that burning 1 kilogram of coal produces approximately 6000 calories? Why is the size of atoms about a hundred millionth of a finger’s breadth? No one could provide any answers to these questions at the turn of the century.

More problems were generated by the discovery of the electron by J.J. Thomson in England and H.A. Lorentz in the Netherlands at the end of the last century and, in particular, by further discoveries by E. Rutherford and H.G. Mosely at the beginning of this century. They found that atoms consist of a heavy, positively charged atomic nucleus surrounded by much lighter electrons. Because the electric force between the positively charged nucleus and the negatively charged electrons is of the same form as the attraction between the sun and the planets, they concluded that atoms must be tiny planetary systems, with the nucleus sun and the electrons as planets. Moreover, it was found that all elements seem to have this planetary structure and differ only in numbers of electrons. For example, hydrogen has one electron; helium, two; iron, twenty-six; and uranium, ninety-two.

It was difficult to understand how elements that are so different -some are gases, some are metals, some are liquids- differ in their atomic structure by only a few electrons. For example, the element neon, which has ten electrons, is a chemically inactive gas: however, the element sodium, which has eleven electrons, is one of the most chemically active metals. An electron increase of 10 percent completely changes the character of the atom! No one could explain this apparent inconsistency between quantity and quality.

Four observations defied all understanding at the turn of the century.

  1. The color of objects at various stages of heating (red, yellow, white).
  2. The very different specific properties of elements whose number of electrons is almost the same.
  3. The fact that atoms do not change their properties in spite of the many collisions and interactions that they suffer in a gas or in an ordinary piece of matter. They quickly resume their original qualities after the perturbation. Their stability and their ability to regenerate is completely at odds with what we would expect from a planetary system. If our solar system were to collide or pass another star at a close distance its orbits and patterns would be completely changed and it would not return to its original form.
  4. The energy content of the atom is quantized. An atom can assume a series of definite energies only and never a value in between. This most surprising fact was found at the beginning of this century and is also completely foreign to a planetary system. There is no reason why the energy of planetary motion cannot change by arbitrarily small amounts, for example, when a meteorite hits a planet. An atom, however, can accept or lose only definite amounts of energy, those that would change its energy from one of the values in the series to another.

It became clear to prequantum physicists that the analogy between an atom and a planetary system breaks down completely when atomic properties and processes are examined in detail. On the other hand, these observations left no doubt that the atom consisted of a positively charged nucleus surrounded by electrons, which ought to form a planetary system, according to the laws of mechanics known at that time. Everything, including our own bodies, consists of atoms. Obviously, the most urgent problem for physics at that time was to resolve these contradictions and to achieve a better comprehension of the structure and behavior of atoms.
So with this ends our prologue. What were the theories which helped us in making a more pronounced understanding will be our next discussion? Precisely to say we will discuss wave-particle duality in the next article. We are wave and particle at the same time…believe me……..

The history of quantum mechanics.

The history of quantum mechanics. This topic is considered to be one of the most difficult topics in Physics but we will try to understand it from the basics.
There is no doubt that the most outstanding development in modern science was the conception of quantum mechanics. It showed, better than anything else, the human capacity to comprehend the fundamental principles that underlie the world in which we live- even when these principles run contrary to our experience in dealing with our everyday environment. The French philosopher-mathematician Henri Poincaré said, “It is hardly necessary to point out how much quantum theory deviates from everything that one has imagined until now; it is, without doubt, the greatest and deepest revolution to which natural philosophy has been subjected since Newton.”

Much happened in physics between the time of Newton and the time of quantum mechanics. The discoveries and insights over the last three centuries characteristic feature: seemingly unconnected phenomena turned out to be manifestations of the same fundamental principle. It was a period of unification of disparate fields of experience. Here are some of the most important steps.

Newton showed that the motion of the planets is governed by the same law as the free fall of an object on earth. Thus, the unified terrestrial and celestial mechanics. In contrast to the belief of the ancients, he showed that the world of the earth and the heavens are governed by the same laws.

Scientists in earlier days believed that heat was some peculiar substance called caloric, which flowed from a hot object to a colder one. Physicists in the nineteenth century recognized that heat is the random motion or random vibration of the constituents of matter. Thus, thermodynamics and mechanics were unified. This feat is connected with the names of J.B. Mayer, B. Rumford, R.E. Clausius, L. Boltzmann, and J.W. Gibbs.

For a long time, the phenomena of electricity, magnetism, and light appeared to be unconnected. In the first half of the nineteenth century, one of the greatest unification of physics took place. Faraday and Maxwell, together with many others, were able to show that all three phenomena are manifestations of the electromagnetic field. And so the field concept entered into physics. The simplest example is the electric field of an electric charge that exerts a force on another charge when the latter falls within its range. An electric current produces a magnetic field that exerts a force on magnetic materials. Such fields may even propagate through space independently of any charges or magnets, in the form of electromagnetic waves, of which visible light is one example. The field concept is less directly connected to our everyday experience than the concept of a particle, but it can easily be realized by our senses. For example, if one feels the attraction of a piece of iron by a magnet, one obtains the immediate impression that something is surrounding the magnet that acts upon the iron. Finally, Einstein unified space, time, and gravity in his special and general theories of relativity.

Quantum mechanics also united two branches of science: physics and chemistry. But it did much more. In previous great developments in physics, fundamental concepts were not too different from those of our everyday experiences, such as particle, position, speed, mass, force, energy, and even field. We often refer to those concepts as classical. The world of atoms cannot be described and understood with those concepts. For atoms and molecules, the ideas and concepts formed in dealing with the objects in our immediate environment no longer suffice. Surprising forms of behavior were observed that not only needed a different language but required new concepts to understand the properties of atoms.

A small group of people conceived of and formulated these new ideas in the middle twenties of this century. The most important among them were W. Heisenberg, a German; E. Schrödinger, an Austrian, P.A.M. Dirac, an Englishman; W. Pauli, another Austrian; and M. Born, another German. They worked at different places, but the center of activities was in Copenhagen, where they met frequently under the leadership of the great Niels Bohr. Bohr was the ideal leader of such a group. Older than most of the others, who were then in their twenties or early thirties, he contributed enormously to the conception of the new ideas by his constant questioning, by his criticism, and by his enthusiasm. The crowd that assembled around him was a group of devoted forward-looking people who, free of the bonds of convention, attacked the deepest riddles of nature with a spirit of joy that can hardly be described. That joy of insight is a sense of involvement and awe, an elated state of mind akin to what you feel on top of a mountain after a hard climb, at the shore of the blue sea, or when you hear a great work of music. It comes not only after personal achievement but also after finally understanding an important new insight gained by the work of others. For every real scientist, it is great compensation for the hard work and trouble he must endure.

The quantum revolution changed our old concepts of reality in many respects. This drama is in five parts.
The first part will be a prologue in which we will discuss the riddles of Physics. The second part will have discussions on the famous wave-particle duality. In the third, we will know how this duality miraculously solved the riddles discussed in part I. The fourth part will be concerned with the significance of wave-particle duality and some new facts. Fifth and the last part will have the quantum ladder…i.e. the previous and future developments of quantum mechanics.

Nadir Shah : A cruel invader

The medieval history of India is comprehensive and elegant as it had seen many up and down during that 300 years of rule by different rulers such as Turks, Mughals, and others. Historical accounts of many rulers depict themselves as either the best rulers, skilled commanders, and the extreme lover of Arts and literature as it can be seen in the region of Mughal emperors especially in the case of Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar also known as Akbar the Great. But many others recorded themselves as the inefficient ruler, unskilled commander, and the degrader of Arts and dance forms. Many foreign travelers and the court jewels during that era have mentioned detailed accounts of some of the rulers, From the period of the 15th century till 18 century many reforms and development in different spheres of life took place and it recorded as the drastic change in arts and culture of the country.

Among many foreign travelers and court persons, few names of the great scholar and writers of that time are still taken with the respect that they contributed a great knowledge and understanding by translating books, writing biographies, and enable us to capture the true image of that era.

A Persian writer of that time Muhammad Qasim Maarawi, in his book “Alam ara Inaadri,” discussed a very interesting story of how The world’s most precious diamond KOHINOOR was being taken away to Iraq by Nadir Shah.
He writes ” After living for 57 days in India, Nadir Shah went back to his own country on 16th May 1739, He had taken away the all wealth and assets of the Mughal empire with him and left nothing behind. In his all invaded wealth the most precious was the Takht e Taaoos in which The Kohinoor and The Ruby of Taimoor were inserted. The treasure that he invaded was been sent to his country by the means of 700 elephants, 4000 camels, and 17000 horses. When the army crossed the Chenab bridge, each soldier was properly investigated, some of them threw the pieces of jewelry and other items in the river with the hope that someday they will return and take back the thing with them, and many of them buried their invaded items for being not to be caught in hands of the chief Nadir Shah. “

Nadir Shah when reached India. He was encountered with the emperor Muhammad Shah and won. He defeated Muhammad Shah and his army of 10 lakh men with just 1 and a half lakhs men of his army.
After reaching Delhi Nadir Shah made such a murder that the example of this is very less in history. This kind of horrific event was recorded in contemporary chronicles such as the Tazkira of Anand Ram Mukhlis.
In the words of the Tazkira:
“Here and there some opposition was offered, but in most places, people were butchered unresistingly. The Persians laid violent hands on everything and everybody. For a long time, streets remained strewn with corpses, as the walks of a garden with dead leaves and flowers. The town was reduced to ashes.”

In Short, Nadir Shah became the owner of all the wealth and assets of Mughals treasured for 348 years in just a moment.

The Conflicting Claims

The History of Jerusalem is one of the most interesting and also the most controversial. The world has witnessed the issues that create conflict between the three religions The Judaism, Christianity and Islam, These are the different branches of the same root having existence in different parts of the world.

Let us talk about the claims that are made upon the 35 acres of land situated in Palestine. It is having a chronology to understand. The oldest among these three is the Jewish and according to their beliefs and records, Jewish claims that place as The Holy of Holies. They believe that God asks Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son and when he was about to sacrifice him God replaced him with the sheep and bestowed his blessings upon Abraham at the place known as Temple Mount. Another belief is that God treasured the soil here and created the first man Adam.

Around 1000 BCE King Solomon (also known as Nabi Suleman according to Islam ) built a Glorious temple known as the First Temple. Further, the Babylonian empire destructed the temple, After 5 centuries, around 516 BCE Jewish constructed the temple at the same place and named it the Second Temple. It lasted for nearly 600 years, But finally, it was destructed by Romans. But a west wall of the temple remained for today and is called The Western Wall and the Jewish people still pray near the western wall. these are the religious facts that gave religious importance to that place for the Jewish community.

Another aspect is the claim that Muslims draw, they stand with the fact in Quran it is mentioned that The prophet Muhammad has traveled from Mecca to Masjid al Aqsa and then to Heaven in just one night and returned. The pace where the prophet Muhammad reached and praised God is called the Masjid Al Aqsa and the place from where the prophet went to meet God is known as the Dome of Rock, Both has Historical as well as Religious Importance for the Muslim community all over the world, This is one of the three Holy places for Muslims.

Now the question is still there that, Who rules Jerusalem?? The Answer is Complicated.

This begins with the Crusades also known as the Holy War between the Christians and the Muslims, As it is clear that during the rise of Islam the Islamic Rulers conquered many places and empires all over the world and Jerusalem was one of them, this thing left no option for Christians rather than to fight and take back the Jerusalem. This place has been one of the religious places for Christians as they believe that God Jesus served his first sermon here and was crucified.
Every community is now striving their best to achieve the possession of the Holy Land and still, the picture is not clear.

4000 years Ago: A pandemic situation

Every contagious disease is known to everyone nowadays and one of them is Corona Virus, No doubt everybody is taking proper care and hygiene. Sometimes it affects the hygienic person and sometimes the careless, It’s dangerous.
But do you know ?? There was a disease spread 4000 years back in the time of Mesopotamian civilization called “Simmum”.

There was an ancient realm Mari, located in the northwest of today’s Syria was one of the most prosperous states of the 18th century BCE. The king was Zimri-Lim, He extended his kingdom by military and martial alliances, built a grand palace. During the time of 1930s, more than 20,000 tablets were found inscribed in the ancient language of the Zimri – Lim’s time.

Many of them depict the subsequent containment of “Simmum”, it was a contagious disease that spreads by coming in contact with the infected person. Mesopotamian people exactly don’t know about the disease but they were enough good and aware of the spread of the disease. The first case that was found was of two women named Attuzar and Astakka.

were infected primarily, when the king came to know about all these he was quite concerned but his wife handled the women and quarantined her from rest of the women and the Tables and meals belong to them were separated, The things belongs to the first women who left the place after getting infected were burnt properly.
There is another incident reported when the king came to know that women infected from the “Simmum” disease are not taking care of and not in quarantine rather she is mingling with other women and spreading the contagious disease. The King ordered to sned that women in quarantine not being allowed to meet with the other women in the palace and kingdom, nobody was allowed to go near.

The distance was the only key to the problem. Every woman infected with the disease was banned from socialization and everything that belonged to them was avoided. At a point in time, the king realized that it is spreading rapidly and soon it will cover the whole kingdom.

Conclusion – Today is the same situation that we are facing a pandemic and avoiding socialization is the only key to such a problem. A history marked and paved the path to understanding the importance and technique of survival in such a pandemic situation.

How America lost the Vietnam War

The conflict in South Asia turned into a war in the 1950s The United States and other countries soon became a part of the long war which finally ended when north and south Vietnam got united as one country. The Vietnam war ultimately claimed lives after lives and much more loss of wealth and property can be seen during these years.

In Oct 1949, Chinese communist leader Mao Zealong formed the People’s Republic of China.

In 1950, The People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union recognized the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and soon they became the main suppliers of economic and military aid to the communist fighters within the country.

In Feb 1950, The Vietnam leader Viet Minh set up its offensive against the French colonial rulers.

In June 1950, U.S identified the Viet Minh as a threat and assisted France through military operations.

In March-May 1954, the French army was defeated and this solidified the end of the French rule in Indo China.

“The German Accords” in 1954 agreed on setting up north and south Vietnam and also stipulates that within two years the election to be held to unify Vietnam under one democratic government.

But in 1955, with the US backing, catholic Nationalist Ngo Dinh Diem emerged as South Vietnam leader while Ho Chi Minh established himself as the communist leader of North Vietnam.

In 1960, the National Liberation Front was formed and the united states started calling the military wing with a name the “Viet Cong”.

In 1961, President Kennedy sent helicopters and ordered secret operations against the Viet Cong.

In 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated and Lyndon B. Johnson became the new President of the United States. 

America enters the war

In Aug 1964, USS Maddox was attacked by the North in the Gulf of Tonkin, two U.S aircraft were shot down, this attack made a new resolution called the “Gulf of Tonkin Resolution”.

In Nov 1964, the Soviet Union and China increased their support to North Vietnam by sending aircraft, radar, air defense systems, and medical supplies.

In Feb-March 1965, President Jhonson ordered and launched a three-year program to bomb the targets in North Vietnam, following this year the US marine landed on the South Vietnam outposts for the first time.

From 1965 to 1968, The US Army troops were constantly at war with North Vietnam by using South Vietnam land outposts. The south and the US forces were offensively resisted by the communist forces. The US suffered some 1800 casualties at that time.

America Lost the War

A combined attack by Viet Minh and North Vietnamese armies were carried out in more than 100 cities and across South Vietnam and the U.S. Embassy was invaded, this bloody and effective attack shocked the U.S officials and it marked the turning point in the war and it began the gradual U.S withdrawal from the region.

From Feb 11-17 1968 marked this week as the bloody week with the highest number of U.S. soldier deaths during the war.

The administration gradually slowed down the process and reduced the numbers of U.S. forces in South Vietnam.

In Feb 1970, U.S. NSA Henry Kissinger began to negotiate with Le Duc Tho peacefully. 

In 1971,  The New York Times published articles throwing light on how the U.S govt repeatedly and secretly involved in the Vietnam War. These were from the leaked document about the war known as the Pentagon Papers.

On Jan 27, 1973, President Nixon signed the agreement known as the Paris Peace Accords mentioning the end of U.S involvement in the Vietnam War, this was accepted by the North Vietnamese and the U.S forces departed from Vietnam.