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ERIC Number: EJ829521
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Examining Quantum Oddities within the Context of Other Major Scientific Theories
Molina, Pablo A.
Journal of Chemical Education, v85 n9 p1229-1232 Sep 2008
Instructors of general chemistry often pepper their introductory quantum lectures with either historical or philosophical notes so as to lessen the strangeness of the subject. Comparisons between the behavior of macroscopic and microscopic objects are also frequently used. This article presents an epistemological discussion on the conceptual hurdles shared by quantum theory and three other major scientific theories (evolution, gravity, and special relativity), namely, that sensorial limitations prevent us from experiencing their empirical consequences. We do not live long enough to observe major evolutionary changes, we are not massive enough to generate gravitational forces capable of attracting smaller objects, we do not travel fast enough to detect time dilation, and we are not small enough to personally experience quantum effects. In showing this common impediment, we offer students a logical structure to deal with the oddities of quantum behavior and help them digest four fundamental but quite abstract quantum concepts: wave-particle duality, the uncertainty principle, boundary conditions, and the quantization of energy. (Contains 1 table.)
Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society. Subscription Department, P.O. Box 1267, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-1267. Tel: 800-691-9846; Tel: 856-931-5825; Fax: 856-931-4115; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A