Steve Bougerolle steveb at
Sat Jun 22 16:01:31 PDT 2002

On Sun, 2002-06-23 at 01:12, Don Smith wrote:

When I said the problem of predicting motion in an atom or nucleus was
impossibly complex, I had in mind just attaining basic probability
distributions for the position or momentum of each particle in it (ie
solving for the wavefunction).  This is already a generous
simplification, as it treats the atom in a semi-classical way.

The quantum considerations are a whole other level, providing the
philosophical point that the position is impossible to know exactly, and
behind the basic quantum mechanical points is a whole range of field
theory issues about radiative corrections and the impossibility of
modelling them completely (which you would have to do if you wanted
>absolute< rigour).

I didn't mention all that because even with the simplest modified Bohr
model atom (which in reality is what we use the huge majority of the
time), it's already impossible to get exact solutions without further

Thanks for the link, Don.

Steve Bougerolle
Creek & Cowley Consulting

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