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Quantum Physics for Scientists and Technologists: Fundamental Principles and Applications for Biologists, Chemists, Computer Scientists, and Nanotechnologists by Paul Sanghera

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8

QUANTUM MECHANICS OF MANY-ELECTRON ATOMS

About seven years later I was given a book about the periodic table of the elements. For the first time I saw the elegance of scientific theory and its predictive power.

Albert Einstein

Figure 8.0. A bus wearing the periodic table of elements to promote Oxford Science Park.The periodic table of elements is a well-known scientific fact that is one of a very few items in science that has obtained a wide acceptance and popularity inside and outside the scientific community. It is a prime example and a public display of how scientific research is based on finding patterns and trends in the data (observations) and then trying to explain those patterns and trends in terms of hypotheses, models, and theories. This is also an example of how quite often scientists make models based on empirical research and the true scientific explanation comes later by a fundamental physical law or theory, a topic that we discussed in Sections 5.1 and 5.2.The periodic table of elements is a tabular display of chemical elements organized in such a way as to illustrate trends in the observed properties of the elements. Although precursors to this table in one or another form exist, its invention is widely credited to Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869. Since then, the layout of the table has been refined and extended over time to accommodate newly discovered elements and improved scientific understanding of it. The fundamental explanation and understanding ...

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