Quantum Mechanics

Published: 29.09.2011
Updated: 03.12.2011
Alias(es)
Quantum Physics, Quantum Theory

also known as quantum physics or quantum theory,

is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of the wave–particle duality of matter and energy. The theory was developed in 1925 by Werner Heisenberg. Quantum mechanics describes the time evolution of physical systems via a mathematical structure called the wave function. The wave function encapsulates the probability that the system is to be found in a given state at a given time. Quantum mechanics also allows one to calculate the effect on the system of making measurements of properties of the system by defining the effect of those measurements on the wave function. This leads to the well-known uncertainty principle as well as the enduring debate over the role of the experimenter, epitomised in the Schrödinger's Cat thought experiment.

Quantum mechanics differs significantly from classical mechanics in its predictions when the scale of observations becomes comparable to the atomic and sub-atomic scale, the so-called quantum realm. However, many macroscopic properties of systems can only be fully understood and explained with the use of quantum mechanics. Phenomena such as superconductivity, the properties of materials such as semiconductors and nuclear and chemical reaction mechanisms observed as macroscopic behaviour, cannot be explained using classical mechanics...

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