The energy of an atom (Atomic Physics Video Series - Part 1)steemCreated with Sketch.

in science •  12 days ago

The energy of an atom... What does it mean ?


Atoms are curious little things, don't you think? At school, you might remember your teacher saying that an atom had energy without really understanding what it meant. You applied the formulas, passed the exam (or not ;-) ), and then forgot all about it.

Much later, you might have asked yourself questions about atoms, and what the teacher meant when he talked about their energy. 

This first video episode of the Atomic Physics Series dives deep into this concept of energy, and describes how it can be derived into the sum of Potential and Kinetic Energies (it defines these guys too).  

It also explains the difference between the concepts of mechanical energy and Internal energy. 

And then the video concludes that when someone mentions the energy of an atom, he or she is talking about the atom's internal energy.

But, it actually digs deeper and analyses where this energy comes from, and realizes that the energy of an atom is actually the energy of its electrons.

I hope you enjoy the video and animations as much as I had fun making them!


This series contains 4 videos:
Episode 2: "What is light", that describes how an atom can gain or lose energy.
Episode 3: "Energy levels of an atom", that explains that the energy of an atom can only take specific values. This shows why atoms can be characterized by their emission or absorbtion spectra.
Episode 4 derives the energy of an atom and proves with algebra only (no calculus) what is proposed in episodes 1 and 3. 

If you enjoyed this episode, please follow me so you can see the next episodes in your feed when I publish them on Steemit. I will also attempt to post them soon on D-Tube.


Friezes and the main illustration are based on illustrations found on Pixabay.

Hi,
I’m @muphy,
My life revolves around music production, teaching sciences, and discovery through travel.
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Very nice video. I found it very funny and I liked it very much. I am looking forward to see the next ones. I however have a couple of comments, if I can.

  • At the microscopic level, the energy can take three forms: mass energy, potential energy and kinetic energy. You missed the first one in your video. At the end of the day, one does not really care for the context you are describing, as we are interested in the energy of the electron (and the electron mass is negligible). But it may be good to specify that in general, one may need to include the mass energy too.

  • You are clearly targeting a description of the Bohr model of the atom. This works well for the hydrogen atom, but fail dramatically for other atomic species (you in fact need quantum mechanics to get the proper description). Maybe a little comment would be in order with this respect? What do you think? :)

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Of course, @LeMouth you can :-). I actually agree with both of your comments. Good comments.

Maybe in the description I should mention that I produced this video within the scope of a specific high school program (International Baccalaureat)... and you are right, I should set the boundaries: This is the Bohr model.

Rest energy (mass energy) is not really relevant within this description. Here, it remains constant whatever we do, so has no impact on the model. So I prefer to not confuse the students (I made this video for my IB students, i.e. last year of high school). I discuss this third form of energy when I approach nuclear reactions and particle physics, i.e. when it can change...

Yes, I am describing the Bohr model, and you will see that in episode 4 I use this model as a first step to quantum mechanics (when I discuss about Bohr's proposal to quantise the angular momentum ). I have always been amazed as to how Newtonian physics, which are used here, got so close (again, reference to upcoming episode 4).

When I approach wave functions combined with standing waves, i.e. that of electrons in potential wells, and connect this with what they know about orbitals in chemistry, then I make them recall the Bohr model and its imperfections, and we discuss a little about how scientific knowledge evolves.

Am glad you enjoyed this!

A bientot sur Steemit!

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Thanks a lot for your open-mindness (I have seen many things concerning people's reactions) :)

I should set the boundaries: This is the Bohr model.

This was indeed the main point of my message. There is a context and it is very important (I think stating that this is the Bohr model is one extra sentence and does not make the video non-understandable, so that I would go for it.

Rest energy (mass energy) is not really relevant within this description. Here, it remains constant whatever we do, so has no impact on the model. So I prefer to not confuse the students (I made this video for my IB students, i.e. last year of high school). I discuss this third form of energy when I approach nuclear reactions and particle physics, i.e. when it can change...

I was imagining something like that. I would personally add a sentence just mentioning this, with stating it exists, is irrelevant and that you will come back to it later. However, at this level, it is a matter of taste :)

I don't like to self-advertise myself, but I will... :p I started long ago a series on quantum mechanics on Steemit. It is based on lectures I gave to Bachelor 2 students, and you may find it useful for your students too (I already addressed the Bohr model some time ago. It is not as sexy as your video, but I think it could be helpful as well ^^

As I said, I am looking forward to watch the rest of the series :)

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Hummm… I think you will appreciate the delivery of episode 2 and 3, less the content, because approximate. On the other hand I think you might enjoy episode 4 where I step it up a notch in terms of rigor and in depths explanation.

The original audience is 16-17 year old kids, struggling with physics concepts, and which are faced for the first time with a world filled with counter-intuitive principle, a world that is actually our reality. The level I aim at is much lower than your series, not mid-Uni levels, but grade 11-12 of high school… (Your series appear excellent by the way! I had a quick look, but will get a deeper one later).

So, you will find approximations in the upcoming videos, which you might find sometimes excessive. However, in terms of pedagogy, I got great results at exams, sometimes even miracles! But of course, I do warn my students: if they are to study this topic further, they must stay open to revisions to their understanding.

As a side note, I noticed something interesting when teaching some specific Quantum Mechanics or Cosmology sub-topics that deal with reality (Still at high school level). Some students, when they understand, literally freak out and refuse further information!

To handle this, I kind of put back human beings in the center by discussing the fact that we might be really important in the universe because we ask ourselves questions about it. I even sometimes have to mention comforting philosophical thoughts like one I remember from Alan Watts who visualized consciousness and intellect as the brains of the universe… Basically, I express that we do not really know if we are really so tiny and control-less … It usually works and reassures the student. The first time it happened, I found it quite intriguing to witness such emotional reactions to concepts in physics...

From teacher to teacher, I am curious, have you ever witnessed such reactions with some of your students and how do you handle it?

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The original audience is 16-17 year old kids, struggling with physics concepts, and which are faced for the first time with a world filled with counter-intuitive principle, a world that is actually our reality.

This is the information I missed. Then of course, the content must be tuned accordingly (and your videos are excellent for those kids). I remember having given particle physics lectures in high-schools. This is really cool! Okay, half of the students usually do not care too much about science in general, but the half who is interested is in general bringing great questions on the table :)

As a side note, I noticed something interesting when teaching some specific Quantum Mechanics or Cosmology sub-topics that deal with reality (Still at high school level). Some students, when they understand, literally freak out and refuse further information!

Not really, but I am teaching to students who have 20-25 years old. If they attend my classes, this is a (professional) choice they made. That changes probably the problem.

From teacher to teacher, I am curious, have you ever witnessed such reactions with some of your students and how do you handle it?

If this would happen, I would try to understand the origins of the fears. I would definitely speak with the student and not let him or her in the dark. Understanding is IMO the key for solving the issue.

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Yes, That is what I did / do. Actually, the good side of it, is that these students, when he/she understands these "weird" concepts, although being troubled by their existentialist consequences, make progress in Physics shortly after. At least that's what I witnessed in the few cases I encountered (statistics too poor to make it a generality).

I hope you don't mind, I will start linking the posts containing the videos of this series to the relevant chapters in your quantum mechanics series, as a suggestion for a deeper dive.

Be well.

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I hope you don't mind, I will start linking the posts containing the videos of this series to the relevant chapters in your quantum mechanics series, as a suggestion for a deeper dive.

Please do so! (I had no time to watch the next episode yet, but I will try during the week-end).

Calling @originalworks :)
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Nice, you got a 72.0% @bryner upgoat, thanks to @muphy
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The @OriginalWorks bot has determined this post by @muphy to be original material and upvoted(1.5%) it!

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Seguro que eres un profesor buenísimo. Tus alumnos estarán encsntados contigo . Yo también hubiese wuerido tener un profesor como tú. Seguro que habría estudiado ciencias.

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Thank you for your very nice words... You know, you do not need to be at school to start falling in love with science and learning amazing things!

This post has received a 2.21 % upvote from @booster thanks to: @muphy.