MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Do the claims made in this paragraph and website have any truth in them?

Date: Sat Jul 19 10:38:52 2003
Posted By: Lawrence Skarin, Rochester Museum and Science Center Technical Assistance Group
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1057841941.Ph

Hello, Joel.  Always happy to hear from Canadians.

The claims made in the paragraph you cited have some validity, but the 
paragraph is so poorly written, it must be parsed carefully.

Picture this:  In a hydrogen atom, an electron (there's your charged 
particle) is circling the proton nucleus.  (There's the orbit)  Particles 
in motion want to travel in a straight path, but to keep the electron in a 
circle it must be accelerated toward the nucleus.  Accelerated charged 
particles radiate energy according to classical electrodynamics.

That the hydrogen atom does not radiate energy is what gave Niels Bohr the 
idea that classical doesn't work at the atomic level.  So he postulated 
that the electron can only orbit at distances from the nucleus that give 
the electron angular momentum equal to (n*h/2*pi) where h is Planck's 
constant (6.63E-34 joule-seconds), pi is 3.1415926, and n MUST BE A 
POSITIVE INTEGER GREATER THAN 0.  So the electron has only particular 
allowed orbital distances from the nucleus.

To make the long story short, this theory gave rise to Erwin Schrodinger's 
wave mechanics which is (sort of) what your paragraph is talking about.

I recommend you view The Mechanical Universe, episode 50, called Particles 
and Waves for a much better explanation than I can give you here.

As to the website you cite, (I visited it), I am suspicious.  I don't know 
what "spin waves" are.  Ask every science person you know if they can 
define spin waves.  Ask Bob McDonald (on Canadian Broadcasting 
Corporation's Quirks and Quarks) if he can find a scientist to tell you 
what a spin wave is.  I don't think they exist.

Sometimes people write incomprehensible paragraphs to make themselves look 
impressive.  Good scientists write clearly because they want to 
communicate ideas.  Positive impressions that result are a byproduct.

Larry Skarin

I have looked up spin waves from the website you stated.  Spin waves
do exist within crystal lattices.  So I learned something.
However, there is nothing I can see in spin waves that would lead to
possible "antigravity" effects stated in Vasant's website.  So I
continue to be skeptical.

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