Atoms/molecules
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4. What questions can we answer with a new paradigm?

Article 4 Module 2

Molecular hydrogen

What patterns do electrons have?

We have 4 known orbital patterns for electrons: The s, p, d, and f orbitals.  For example, for H2 (hydrogen gas), two 1s electrons come together to form a sigma bond in a stable molecular orbital.


It is possible to take our current atomic and molecular orbital theory and tweak it a bit to answer the following questions: 


  1. Why do the electrons in the s orbital almost touch the nucleus? (the penetration of the electron
  2. Why do atomic electron orbitals have certain specific rules for filling ?(diagram below shows 4s orbital filling before 3d orbital, 6s filling before 4f orbital, etc).
  3. How to explain the dual nature of electrons: Why electrons have positions but you can't tell where they are at any point in time.


atomic orbitals

Energy levels of atomic orbitals


How does one increase the kinetic energy  of electrons?

Once we have a paradigm to how electrons behave in space, it will be simple to extrapolate from that to answers regarding kinetic energy. Here are some of the questions we can answer:


  1. Why we have bonding and antibonding electrons
  2. Why is an octet is the most stable arrangement for electrons?
  3. How chemical bonding creates the lowest level of energy for molecules
  4. Why hydrogen gas (H2) is very reactive while being so stable.

How can silver and gold have the same kinetic energy for their electrons?

Finally, many of the concepts discussed will highlight the changes in kinetic energy in matter. The following questions will be answered:

  1. How different materials have different levels of expansion with temperature rise? 
  2. Why different matter have different specific heats? (which is the ratio of the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of a body one degree to that required to raise the temperature of an equal mass of water one degree).
  3. Why matter at the same temperature and pressure has the same kinetic energy? For example, silver and gold have electrons at different atomic energy levels, yet their overall kinetic energy will be the same at a given temperature and pressure.
Silver and gold bars

Silver and gold bars

Future courses will highlight: 

Why the s orbital is so versatile. The s orbital is the reason that: 

  • Why are liquids liquid?
  • ice floats on water
  • we have fireworks
  • why we have life.

Picture credits: 

  1. By B Calkins. Paradigm shift concept. Shutterstock.com, ID: 84689764.
  2. By alexfan32. Shutterstock, ID: 1594438201. Two protons and two electrons of H2 - Molecular Hydrogen in vector. 
  3. By magnetix . Shutterstock ID: 371349493. energy levels of atomic orbitals. 
  4. By VladKK. Shutterstock, ID: 1517453432. Several gold and silver bars of different weight isolated on a white background.
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