Introduction

The first objective of this chapter is to briefly review some of the basic ideas about the structure of matter, in particular the concepts of microscopic physics, in order to recall the knowledge gained in previous physics (and chemistry) courses and make it more precise. Our review will be very con...

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Published in: Quantum Physics pp. 1 - 41
Main Author: Le Bellac, Michel
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Published: Cambridge University Press 03-23-2006
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Summary: The first objective of this chapter is to briefly review some of the basic ideas about the structure of matter, in particular the concepts of microscopic physics, in order to recall the knowledge gained in previous physics (and chemistry) courses and make it more precise. Our review will be very concise, and most statements will be made without any proof or detailed discussion. A second objective is to give a brief description of some of the crucial stages in the early development of quantum physics. We shall not follow the strict historical order of this development or present the arguments used at the beginning of the last century by the founding fathers of quantum mechanics; rather, we shall stress the concepts which we shall find useful later on. Our last objective is to give an elementary introduction to some of the basic ideas, like those of a quantum particle or energy level, that will reappear throughout this text. We shall base our review on the Bohr theory, which provides a simple, though far from convincing, explanation of how energy levels are quantized and how the spectrum of the hydrogen atom arises. This chapter should be reread later on, once the basic ideas of quantum mechanics have been made explicit and illustrated by examples. From the practical point of view, it is possible to skip the general considerations of Sections 1.1 and 1.2 at the first reading and begin with Section 1.3, returning to those two sections later on as needed.
ISBN: 1107602769
9781107602762
9780521852777
0521852773
DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511616471.003