Home Forums Hyperfine course electric monopole shift expression and physics Explaining the 1s electron orbital

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    Imagine yourself at the center of a tree, you are the nucleus. Your branches not have any leaves yet, because you don’t have an electron yet. Suddenly a bird comes along, this bird is the electron. It is hard to see where exact the bird as it is moving around, but every time the bird lands on a branch, a leaf appears. As time goes by and the bird (the electron) keeps moving around you, you can see a pattern in the leaves. Some places are really dense with leaves, others are more sparse. If someone outside the tree would ask you where the bird is, you could not give them a definite answer, but by looking at how dense the number of leaves is at any given spot, you can give the probability that the bird can be found in that spot. Where the leaves are denser, the bird has been more often, so the probability of finding it there again is higher than a place with few leaves. (And then at this point I would show a scheme of the 1s orbital to show them what the leave density would look like.) We can’t know where exactly the bird is at any given moment, but what we do see, is that on average, the bird is moving around in a sphere at a certain radius from you (the nucleus).

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