7. Particles, Waves, and     Paradoxes   Previous PageNext Page
    The Discontinuous Atom

The energy corresponding to the quantum state n is given by

is another collection of physical constants, which for hydrogen has a value of 313 kcal .

The allowed energy levels for hydrogen are diagramed at the right.

By convention, energy is expressed relative to that of an ionized atom, with the electron at rest but infinitely far away. The energy of any atom with its electron still bound to it must be less than zero, or negative. Positive energy refers to the kinetic energy that the removed electron has, if it is not at rest.

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