量子力学の歴史を初心者にもわかりやすく解説

もふもふ科学のもふです。

大学で物理を専攻し、研究開発を16年やってきました。

物理が好きなので、科学の楽しさや面白さなどを解説していきます。

量子力学の歴史

1900年代。力学や電磁気学や熱力学や統計力学などの理解が深まり、この世の中の現象でわからないことはないと考えられていました。

しかし、従来の物理の法則ではわからない現象が発見されてきました。

溶鉱炉の光の波長を導けない

溶鉱炉の温度を調べる方法として、光の波長を調べて温度を調べていました。温度計では高温すぎて溶けてしまうので測定できないためです。

温度を持ったものは光を出すことがわかっていたので、統計力学を使って波長を導こうとしても、うまく導くことができませんでした。

原子の振動が飛び飛びで固有の値しかとらないと仮定すると、うまく波長の数式が導けることがわかりました(プランクの法則)。

光電効果を説明できない

静電気を帯電させた金属に、ある一定以上の短い波長を当てると電子が飛び出ることを光電効果と呼んでいます。

ある一定の短い波長を当てた場合は電子が飛び出てくるのですが、長い波長をいくら当てても電子が飛び出てこないことが謎でした。

光は波と考えられていたので、長い波長の光でも長時間与え続けると増幅されて電子にエネルギーが与えられて、電子が飛び出てくると考えられていました。

アインシュタインは、光量子仮説をとなえ、光は粒子のようにふるまい振動数に比例するエネルギーを持っている仮説を唱え、この考えで光電効果を説明できることを示しました。(この結果、アインシュタインはノーベル賞を受賞しています)

電子が原子核に落ちてしまう問題

ラザフォードの実験などで、原子の中心に原子核が小さくあり、その周りを電子がまわっていることがわかりました。

しかし、電磁気学では電子が動いていると電磁波を出してエネルギーを放出し、電子が原子核に落ちて原子がつぶれてしまううという問題がありました。

このことをうまく説明する方法がないか…?ボーア博士が考え、ボーアの原子模型を考えました。

簡単に言うと、電子は原資の周りを飛び回っているのではなく、確率の雲として存在している。そのため電子が飛び回っているのではなく、電磁波が出ないというも考えです。

また、周期的な条件を入れることで、水素原子の軌道がとびとびになることなども導きました。

量子力学を作った。古典物理でうまく説明できないことを、うまく説明できる法則

このように、従来の力学や電磁気学などではうまく説明できない原子や電子などのふるまいをうまく説明できないか?

当時の天才物理学者たちが考えに考え、様々な議論を積み重ね、実験結果をうまく説明できる量子力学を完成させました。

量子力学の体系
  • シュレーディンガー方程式に従う
  • 飛び飛びの値しかとらない
  • 粒子は確率的にふるまう(確率解釈)
  • 粒子としても波動としてもふるまう
  • 位置とスピードを同時に決められない(不確定性原理)

シュレーディンガー方程式をつくり、それを解くと電子や原子の状態をうまく説明するということがわかったのです。

しかし、直感的にはわかりにくく、アインシュタインですら量子力学の確率解釈を結果を受け入れませんでした。「神様はサイコロを振らない」といったことはとても有名です。

直観的にはすごく不思議なことなのですが、量子力学は電子や光子のふるまいを説明するために必要不可欠な学問として、広く現実の世界で活用されています。

量子力学のまとめページ

直観的にわかる量子力学のまとめページはこちらです。

【まとめ】直観的に量子力学が理解できる解説

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