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The tiny electrons appeared to be defying the laws of physics. Stephen Hawking’s Grand Design: The Key to the Cosmos, Discovery 2012
If electrons are sent through the slits one at a time, one would expect each to pass through one slit or the other, and so behave just as if the slit it passed through were the only one there – giving a uniform distribution on the screen. In reality, however, even when the electrons are sent one at a time, the fringes still appear. Each electron, therefore, must be passing through both slits at the same time! Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time p65
In the 1920s physicist Niels Bohr found that Newton’s Laws break down at the atomic level. The replacement Quantum Theory ... showed that the electron orbiting the atomic nucleus doesn’t look like this at all. It’s more smudged out, more like a ripple or a wave. Horizon: The Anthropic Principle, BBC 1987
We have to record some kind of measurement to know where an electron is. In fact, until we decide to find out where the electron is by doing an experiment to observe it the electron as a material entity cannot be really said to exist. ibid.
That by our acts of observation we bring things into existence, at least in the realm of the very small, is supported by scientific experiment. ibid.
If we bring the tiny world of the Quantum to existence by our observations, do we need any other mechanism to account for the whole of reality? ibid.
J J Thomson in Cambridge discovers the electron. Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man 10/13: World Within World, BBC 1973
All those woodland walks and conversations came to a brilliant climax in 1927. that year Werner Heisenberg gave a new characterisation of the electron: yes, it is a particle, he said, but a particle which yields only limited information. That is, you can specify where it is at this instant, but then you cannot impose on it a specific speed and direction of setting off. Or conversely, if you insist that you’re going to fire it at a certain speed and a certain direction then you cannot specify exactly what its starting point is, or its end point. Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man 11/13: Knowledge or Certainty ***** BBC 1973
It’s absolutely ridiculous what particles do when they go through two slits ... When you throw an electron ... it does everything at once. It takes every possible way to get from one place to another at the same time ... What does it mean if you’re inside of it? Professor Lawrence Krauss
But it is necessary to insist more strongly than usual that what I am putting before you is a model – the Bohr model atom – because later I shall take you to a profounder level of representation in which the electron instead of being confined to a particular locality is distributed in a sort of probability haze all over the atom. Arthur Stanley Eddington
Can a physicist visualize an electron? The electron is materially inconceivable and yet, it is so perfectly known through its effects that we use it to illuminate our cities, guide our airlines through the night skies and take the most accurate measurements. What strange rationale makes some physicists accept the inconceivable electrons as real while refusing to accept the reality of a Designer on the ground that they cannot conceive Him? Wernher von Braun
Can quantum mechanics represent the fact that an electron finds itself approximately in a given place and that it moves approximately with a given velocity, and can we make these approximations so close that they do not cause experimental difficulties? Werner Heisenberg
I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive – these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was, ‘It won the fight!’ Albert Einstein
If I say [electrons] behave like particles I give the wrong impression; also if I say they behave like waves. They behave in their own inimitable way, which technically could be called a quantum mechanical way. They behave in a way that is like nothing that you have seen before. Richard P Feynman, lecture VI, ‘Probability and Uncertainty – the Quantum Mechanical View of Nature'
Indeed, nothing more beautifully simplifying has ever happened in the history of science than the whole series of discoveries culminating about 1914 which finally brought practically universal acceptance to the theory that the material world contains but two fundamental entities, namely, positive and negative electrons, exactly alike in charge, but differing widely in mass, the positive electron – now usually called a proton – being 1850 times heavier than the negative, now usually called simply the electron. Robert Andrews Millikan
The electron can no longer be conceived as a single, small granule of electricity; it must be associated with a wave, and this wave is no myth; its wavelength can be measured and its interferences predicted. Louis de Broglie
Protons may determine the identity of the element, but electrons rule its reactivity. Nova: Hunting the Elements I, PBS 2012
In the bizarre quantum world we have electrons that literally disappear, reappear some place else. Electrons that can be in multiple places at the same time. Professor Maicho Kaku, author Physics of the Impossible