Conceptual Physics (12th Edition)

Published by Addison-Wesley
ISBN 10: 0321909100
ISBN 13: 978-0-32190-910-7

Chapter 32 - Think and Explain: 39


Yes, atoms would be larger if Planck’s constant h were larger.

Work Step by Step

The de Broglie equation (wavelength = h/p) shows that if h were larger, then for a certain momentum, the electron wavelength would be larger. A whole number of these wavelengths form the standing wave, the electron orbital, that encircles the nucleus. If the wavelength is longer, the circumference is longer, and the atom is larger. This is discussed on pages 608-609, and shown in Figure 32.10.
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