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Physical Science

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Explain how the path of an electron differs in Bohr's model and in the modern model of the atom.

  • Physical Science -

    Bohr's model consisted of circular orbits around the nucleus. That was modified by Sommerfeld from circular to elliptical orbits depending upon serveral factors, and that was modified to sub-orbits (orbitals). The modern theory is one of mathematical treatment based on quantum mechanics. We talk in terms of orbits, circular and non-circular paths, the size of orbits, etc but these are nothing but pictures in our mind to try and help us understand how chemistry works. Technically, atoms and molecules can be explained by mathematical formulas and no pictures are necessary. But quantum mechanics is over the head of many many people and certainly can't be used in high school or in freshman college chemistry. Pictures must do until one has the math background to understand quantum chemistry and physics.

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