Science: Wiggling Knottiness

Britain's William Lawrence Bragg once described the atom as "like someone's head [i.e., the nucleus] with a cloud of mosquitoes [i.e., electrons] buzzing around it." Sir Arthur Eddington confessed that he pictured electrons as little red balls. But physicists have long since stopped trying to visualize the atom. As understood today the electron has become almost a dreamlike abstraction. It does not obey the laws of cause and effect. Nevertheless, even in quantum mechanics, the abstruse mathematics of the atom, the electron is assigned a constant electric charge, e, and a constant mass,...

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