By George Gamow
Mr Tompkins has turn into recognized and enjoyed through many millions of readers (since his first visual appeal over fifty years in the past) because the financial institution clerk whose tremendous desires and adventures lead him right into a global contained in the atom. George Gamow's vintage offers a pleasant clarification of the relevant suggestions in smooth physics, from atomic constitution to relativity, and quantum idea to fusion and fission. Roger Penrose's new foreword introduces Mr Tompkins to a brand new new release of readers, and reports his adventures within the gentle of present advancements in physics this day.
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The quantum theory gives us exact rules concerning the calculation of the probability of such an escape, and it has been shown that the observed periods of alpha-decay are in complete agreement with the expectation of the theory. Also in the case of projectiles which are shot into the nucleus from the outside, the results of quantum-mechanical calculations are in very close agreement with the experiment. Before going any further, I want to show you some photographs representing the process of disintegration of various nuclei which were hit by high energy atomic projectiles.
In fact, the theory leads to an inevitable conclusion that, besides the quantum states of motion in 52 53 Â < previous page < previous page page_166 page_167 next page > next page > Page 167 atoms, there is also an infinite number of special 'negative quantum states' belonging to a pure vacuum, and that, unless one prevents electrons from going over into these 'more comfortable' states of motion, they will all abandon their atoms and will be, so to speak, dissolved into empty space. Since, furthermore, the only way of preventing an electron from going where it pleases, is to have this particular spot 'occupied' by some other electron (remember Pauli), one must have all these quantum states in vacuum completely filled up by an infinity of electrons distributed uniformly through the entire space.
And, just as in liquids, those forces, while preventing the particles from being completely separated, do not hinder their displacement relative to one another. Thus nuclear matter possesses a certain degree of fluidity and, not being disturbed by any external forces, assumes the shape of a spherical drop, just like an ordinary drop of water. In the schematic diagram which I am going to draw for you now, you see different types of nuclei built from protons and neutrons. The 30 31 simplest is the nucleus of hydrogen which consists of just one proton, whereas the most complicated uranium nucleus consists of 92 protons and 142 neutrons.
Mr. Tompkins in paperback by George Gamow