On Tue, Dec 18, 2012 at 02:30:51AM -0500, Stephen P. King wrote:
> On 12/18/2012 1:28 AM, Jason Resch wrote:
> >Hope no one minds me reviving an old thread.  Doesn't interference
> >play a crucial role in preventing electrons from falling into the
> >nucleus?  I believe I have heard that somewhere but I don't
> >remember where and I am not sure of its veracity.  If it is true,
> >it seems to me that would provide an anthropic reason for ruling
> >out real measure.
> >
> Hi Jason,
> 
>     I thought that it is the existence of a minimum energy ground
> state that prevents the atom's collapse.
> 
> -- 

This is closer to the answer than Brent's. If it were due to the Pauli
exclusion principle (which prevents two fermions from sharing the same
state), hydrogen atoms would collapse (suffer the ultraviolet
catastrophe), as there is only one electron involved.

My answer would be to refer to the uncertainty principle, which comes
from the Fourier transform relationship between position and momentum
operators. This entails that the only way an electron can be found
exactly at the origin, is if its momentum were infinite.

But I actually quite like David Deutsch's explanation in terms of
fungible variation (I think he calls it something like that), which
can be found in BoI. It works for the s suborbital, which has a Gaussian
distribution about the origin, but fails, or at least is incomplete
for other suborbitals, such as the p suborbital.

-- 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
Visiting Professor of Mathematics      hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au
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