The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest For… - Chapter 4, Microscopic Weirdness Summary & Analysis

Brian Greene
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Chapter 4, Microscopic Weirdness Summary and Analysis

"Quantum mechanics is a conceptual framework for understanding the microscopic properties of the universe," (p. 86). The universe behaves entirely different on an ultra-microscopic scale than it does on the everyday scale. Quantum mechanics began with a problem: when physicists were calculating the total energy inside an oven, they kept concluding that the energy was infinite. Max Planck discovered the electromagnetic waves generated by the oven must have a whole number of peaks and troughs that fit perfectly within the oven's surfaces. Waves are described in wavelength, frequency, and amplitude. Physicists found that the waves, regardless of wavelength, carry the same amount of energy. Though requiring the waves be whole numbers specifies the rules, it still leaves an infinite number of waves possible, therefore, an infinite amount of energy. Max Planck solved the problem by declaring that fractions...

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