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Bohr Vs Schrondinger Electron Model from Viziscience on Vimeo.

Electrons don't travel in a fixed path

Contrary to common assumption, electrons don't travel in pre-determined paths around the nucleus of an atom. Electrons travel like waves and how do waves travel exactly? Light and sound waves travel by transferring energy and spreading out as they gain more energy. When an electron absorbs light energy, it's position spreads out. When it loses energy, it's position shrinks. In other words, an electron is not a little ball that zips around inside an atom but rather it's what scientists call "a quantum object" which relates to how tiny particles behave with respect to energy.

In 1926 Erwin Schrödinger, an Austrian physicist used mathematical equations to describe the likelihood of finding an electron in a certain position. His theory states that you can never locate an electron's exact position at any given time – you can only guess its whereabouts!

The Electron Cloud

The Bohr model basically describes how electrons are arranged in concentric circular orbits around the nucleus just like the solar system.

Schrödinger's quantum mechanical model, on the other hand, does not define the exact path of an electron, but rather, predicts the probable location of an electron.

This is portrayed by a region of negative charge surrounding the nucleus of an atom called the "Electron Cloud".

Electron cloud - chemistry illustration