# Anatomy of a Quantum Jump

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Ever since Bohr's original introduction of the quantum theory, the precise nature of transitions between discrete energy levels, with the concomitant absorption or emission of photons, has been a matter of continuing controversy. The deep philosophical issues arising from this question have been discussed in great detail by Schrödinger [1] and many others. A related phenomenon is the so-called *collapse of the wavefunction*. To greatly simplify the problem, the question is whether the transitions, known as *quantum jumps*, are truly instantaneous. Current thinking appears to be tending to the view that, to satisfy the requirements of a rational physical theory, such transitions must actually occur within a finite, although extremely short, time interval. We have conjectured that this interval might be approximated by the time it takes a light signal to traverse a Bohr radius: sec.

Contributed by: S. M. Blinder (December 2019)

Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA

## Details

The hydrogen wavefunctions, in atomic units:

,

,

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Reference

[1] E. Schrödinger, "Are There Quantum Jumps?," *The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science*,* *3(10) and 3(11), 1952 pp. 109–123 and 233–242. doi:10.1093/bjps/III.10.109 and doi:10.1093/bjps/III.11.233.

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