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Quantum mechanics (QM; also known as quantum physics, or quantum theory) is a fu

ndamental branch of physics which deals with physical phenomena at nanoscopic sc


ales where the action is on the order of the Planck constant. It departs from cl
assical mechanics primarily at the quantum realm of atomic and subatomic length
scales. Quantum mechanics provides a mathematical description of much of the dua
l particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. Qu
antum mechanics provides a substantially useful framework for many features of t
he modern periodic table of elements including the behavior of atoms during chem
ical bonding and has played a significant role in the development of many modern
technologies.
In advanced topics of quantum mechanics, some of these behaviors are macroscopic
(see macroscopic quantum phenomena) and emerge at only extreme (i.e., very low
or very high) energies or temperatures (such as in the use of superconducting ma
gnets). In the context of quantum mechanics, the waveparticle duality of energy a
nd matter and the uncertainty principle provide a unified view of the behavior o
f photons, electrons, and other atomic-scale objects.
The mathematical formulations of quantum mechanics are abstract. A mathematical
function, the wavefunction, provides information about the probability amplitude
of position, momentum, and other physical properties of a particle. Mathematica
l manipulations of the wavefunction usually involve braket notation which require
s an understanding of complex numbers and linear functionals. The wavefunction f
ormulation treats the particle as a quantum harmonic oscillator, and the mathema
tics is akin to that describing acoustic resonance. Many of the results of quant
um mechanics are not easily visualized in terms of classical mechanics. For inst
ance, in a quantum mechanical model the lowest energy state of a system, the gro
und state, is non-zero as opposed to a more "traditional" ground state with zero
kinetic energy (all particles at rest). Instead of a traditional static, unchan
ging zero energy state, quantum mechanics allows for far more dynamic, chaotic p
ossibilities, according to John Wheeler.
The earliest versions of quantum mechanics were formulated in the first decade o
f the 20th century. About this time, the atomic theory and the corpuscular theor
y of light (as updated by Einstein)[1] first came to be widely accepted as scien
tific fact; these latter theories can be viewed as quantum theories of matter an
d electromagnetic radiation, respectively. Early quantum theory was significantl
y reformulated in the mid-1920s by Werner Heisenberg, Max Born and Pascual Jorda
n, (matrix mechanics); Louis de Broglie and Erwin Schrdinger (wave mechanics); an
d Wolfgang Pauli and Satyendra Nath Bose (statistics of subatomic particles). Mo
reover, the Copenhagen interpretation of Niels Bohr became widely accepted. By 1
930, quantum mechanics had been further unified and formalized by the work of Da
vid Hilbert, Paul Dirac and John von Neumann[2] with a greater emphasis placed o
n measurement in quantum mechanics, the statistical nature of our knowledge of r
eality, and philosophical speculation about the role of the observer. Quantum me
chanics has since permeated throughout many aspects of 20th-century physics and
other disciplines including quantum chemistry, quantum electronics, quantum opti
cs, and quantum information science. Much 19th-century physics has been re-evalu
ated as the "classical limit" of quantum mechanics and its more advanced develop
ments in terms of quantum field theory, string theory, and speculative quantum g
ravity theories.