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S-6 Xray Sun
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(Q-1)   Quantum Physics                


      The Sun

S-2.Solar Layers

S-3.The Magnetic Sun

S-3A. Interplanetary
        Magnetic Fields

S-4. Colors of Sunlight

S-4A.Color Expts.

S-5.Waves & Photons

Optional: Quantum Physics

Q1.Quantum Physics

Q2. Atoms

Q3. Energy Levels

Q4. Radiation from
        Hot Objects

Q5.The Atomic Nucleus
        and Bohr's Model

Q6. Expansion of
        Bohr's Model

Q7.Wave Mechanics

Q8. Tunneling

S-6.The X-ray Sun

S-7.The Sun's Energy


This part of "Stargazers" assumes the reader is already familiar with sections

            (S-4)   The Many Colors of Sunlight
            (S-5)   Waves and Photons

    From here one can continue with sections on the Sun, its energy and related sections on nuclear energy. All these provide a reasonably comprehensive, non-mathematical introduction to solar-related physics, at the level of high school or beginning college.

    However... whereas rest of "From Stargazers to Starships" revolves around Newton's laws of motion and their applications, Sun-related physics is frequently concerned with the physics of the atom and nucleus, where those laws are greatly modified.

    Like Newtonian mechanics, "quantum mechanics" is a mathematical field, but even its basic applications demand much more mathematics. Its coverage here is therefore very much simplified. Do not expect "Stargazers" to teach you quantum physics: the most these web pages can do is give a quick survey of its origins, and sketch out some basic ideas. You will learn what the main components are, and a bit about the way they evolved, but to do more, you will have to fill those empty boxes with solid, mathematical knowledge.

    This is optional material: if you skip it and continue, you may still get a fairly coherent picture.

Planck's Constant

Einstein's 1905 formula
E = hν

was an early indication that on the atomic scale the laws of physics were quite different. Furthermore, it suggested that the new laws were intimately connected with a new physical constant, now known (for reasons discussed below) as "Planck's constant" h. To an accuracy of 6 decimals

h = 6.626068 10–34 joule-sec;

    Much of the physics of the 20th century involves atomic phenomena, an area rarely covered in high school or beginning college, where studies stress "classical physics" based on the laws of Newton and Maxwell; Indeed, with the limited time available in physics classes, even that part of physics is only partially covered. Classical physics is indeed more relevant to most engineering applications. Furthermore, the mathematical tools involved in the "new physics," the mathematics of wave functions, are only taught in classes on advanced calculus. Thus a gap is almost inevitable.

    This overview will not close that gap: at most, it can present some of the framework of the physics of the atomic level. As in other parts of "From Stargazers to Starships," here too the pattern is outlined by a history of its discoveries.

Next Stop: Q-2   The Atomic Structure of Matter

Or else, return to section #6 on physics related to the Sun: (S-6) Seeing the Sun in a New Light

            Timeline                     Glossary                     Back to the Master List

Author and Curator:   Dr. David P. Stern
     Mail to Dr.Stern:   stargaze("at" symbol)

Last updated: 16 May 2005
Re-formatted 27 March 2006