Quantum physics is a general name for a set of the natural theories originated in twentieth century, which, like the theory of relativity, mark a rupture between what is now called classical physics – all theories and physical principles accepted in the nineteenth century. The so-called “quantum” theories describe the behavior of atoms and particles – what classical physics, including Newtonian mechanics and electromagnetic theory of Maxwell, could not do – and elucidate some properties of electromagnetic radiation. Its description of microcosm, radically new, is based on new assumptions.
In 1900, the researches of German physicist Max Plank showed that the radiation energy is discrete and is emitted by specific portions – quantum, whose energy depends on the frequency of the light wave.
The theory of Max Planck did not need the concept of ether and overcome the contradictions and difficulties of electrodynamics by James Maxwell. Max Planck experiments led to the recognition of the dual nature of light, which has both corpuscular and wave properties. It became clear that such a conclusion was not compatible with the concepts of classical physics. Thus, Max Planck theory introduced a new quantum physics, which describes the processes in microcosm.
Basing on the ideas of Max Planck, Albert Einstein suggested the quantum theory of light, according to which light is a moving stream of photons. The quantum theory of light (photon theory) considers light as a wave with a discontinuous structure. Light is the flow of indivisible quanta of light – photons. It became clear that the electron is knocked out by a photon only if the photon energy is sufficient to overcome the force of interaction of the electrons with the atomic nucleus. In 1922, for the creation of the quantum theory of light, Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics.
The explanation of the photoelectric effect of the process was based, in addition to the quantum hypothesis of Max Planck, on the new ideas about the atom structure. In 1911, English physicist Rutherford proposed the planetary model of the atom. The model represents an atom as a positively charged nucleus surrounded by negatively charged electrons. This model allowed to explain the phenomenon of rejection of alpha particles passing through the atom. As the size of an atom is larger than that of electron and nucleus, the alpha particle passes unimpeded through it. The deviation is observed only when the alpha particle passes close to the nucleus, in this case, the electric repulsion causes a sharp deviation from its original path.
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