Quantum mechanics (QM) is a set of principles describing physical reality at the atomic level of matter (molecules and atoms) and the subatomic (electrons, protons, and even smaller particles). These descriptions include the simultaneous wave-like and particle-like behavior of both matter and radiation ("wave–particle duality"). In the quantum mechanics of a subatomic particle, one can never specify its state, such as its simultaneous location and velocity, with complete certainty (this is called the Heisenberg uncertainty principle — see its formula in the box to the right).

Certain systems, however, do exhibit quantum mechanical effects on a larger scale; superfluidity (the frictionless flow of a liquid at temperatures near absolute zero) is one well-known example. Quantum theory also provides accurate descriptions for many previously unexplained phenomena such as black body radiation and the stability of electron orbits. It has also given insight into the workings of many different biological systems, including smell receptors and protein structures.

Even so, classical physics often can be a good approximation to results otherwise obtained by quantum physics, typically in circumstances with large numbers of particles (some questions remain open, however, in the field of quantum chaos).

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- V.H.Belvadi,

Owner,

The Online Physics Club.