The Grand Orbital Table
February 22, 2010 10:27 PM   Subscribe

BEHOLD: The Grand Orbital Table (single link pretty picture)
posted by water bear (31 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sure wish I knew what that meant.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:36 PM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


From wikipedia: An atomic orbital is a mathematical function that describes the wave-like behavior of either one electron or a pair of electrons in an atom. This function can be used to calculate the probability of finding any electron of an atom in any specific region around the atom's nucleus. These functions may serve as three-dimensional graph of an electron’s likely location. The term may thus refer directly to the physical region defined by the function where the electron is likely to be. Specifically, atomic orbitals are the possible quantum states of an individual electron in the collection of electrons around a single atom, as described by the orbital function.
posted by Artw at 10:36 PM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Basically, This site outlines all the fun possibilities that could have ensued if your 11th grade chem teacher had more balloons and better skills.

Of course, you probably wished he/she would just fill them up with Hydrogen again....
posted by Throw away your common sense and get an afro! at 10:55 PM on February 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


This has something to do with science, right?
posted by zardoz at 11:06 PM on February 22, 2010


A fun little hydrogen orbitals Java applet for your delectation.
posted by killdevil at 11:27 PM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is something that you would have encountered in high school chemistry or physics.*

For me, learning that atomic orbitals weren't pretty little planet-style rings was an exhilarating disappointment. I was a bit bummed that the universe didn't really live up to my silly aesthetic expectations of the time, but excited by how weird it all seemed.

* For what that's worth---it's not like I really remember what the Edict of Worms was all about...
posted by tss at 11:29 PM on February 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nice layout, but I was disappointed that you couldn't click on a given orbital and see a big rotatable view or something.

For the science challenged, yeah, this table illustrates some aspects of the rules for how matter can link up to make everything there is. Pretty important.
posted by telstar at 11:50 PM on February 22, 2010


Probably a great post.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:03 AM on February 23, 2010


Overview (from the same site).
posted by sentient at 12:50 AM on February 23, 2010


Behold, The Mariana Trench
posted by netbros at 1:07 AM on February 23, 2010 [8 favorites]


For the science challenged, yeah, this table illustrates some aspects of the rules for how matter can link up to make everything there is.

Although, when we say "everything", we really mean "less than 5% of everything".
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 1:18 AM on February 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


freaky. deaky. i realized that orbitals had a bunch of weird shapes, but i didn't realize there were so many. also, i remember s, d, and f and this is all m, n, and l...what's up with that? (s,d,f,etc were the orbitals i learned for different elements...is this all just different excited states of hydrogen?...if so what are the other elements like?...i would assume that's a much bigger table, no?)

i do remember that these shapes, in nature, are 'fuzzier' and not so 'hard edged'...electrons are all prob-a-balistic-al...these shapes merely delineate the area where you are most likely to find them...there is a slim, but non-zero chance that they might actually pop out to the corner store or the edge of the known universe for a bit, IIRC...

Nice layout, but I was disappointed that you couldn't click on a given orbital and see a big rotatable view or something.

there are a couple of (four) animations on the bottom of the "overview" link that sentient posted...better than nuthin' :/
posted by sexyrobot at 1:35 AM on February 23, 2010


It's pretty, but I wonder what's the use of seeing the rough shape of the orbital? I suppose knowing that an s-orbital is spherical, and a p-orbital is a dumbbell, gives some (vague) intuition helpful for understanding molecular bonding, but that's about it. I'd like to see molecular orbitals computed though, just to see the electron distribution in a complicated molecule. e.g. what is the electron distribution in the molecular orbitals (from groundstate up) of ethanol?
posted by snoktruix at 1:43 AM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


freaky. deaky. i realized that orbitals had a bunch of weird shapes, but i didn't realize there were so many. also, i remember s, d, and f and this is all m, n, and l...what's up with that? (s,d,f,etc were the orbitals i learned for different elements...is this all just different excited states of hydrogen?

To (sort of) elaborate on the explanation on the main page (linked above):

The letters n, l, m are part of the set of 4 Quantum Numbers that can be used to describe any specific electron in orbit around any given atom. They are: The table in the page Artw linked might be good to look at as well.

The elements on the periodic table go up to n=7. This page lists orbitals up to n=10, which are all shapes predicted to occur in theoretical elements beyond 118.
posted by Throw away your common sense and get an afro! at 2:32 AM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Reminiscent of laser modes.
posted by ryanrs at 2:40 AM on February 23, 2010


it's not like I really remember what the Edict of Worms was all about...

The Edict of Worms was a decree issued by The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1521 declaring that nobody likes us and indeed, everybody hates us.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:28 AM on February 23, 2010 [10 favorites]


This is an awesome table, but it should really come with a caveat - these aren't really images of the "orbitals" - these are the surfaces of maximum probability in the orbitals.

The orbitals themselves are difficult to depict, because they are a 3-D probability cloud. This illustrates the maximum probability surfaces for the electron, which is pretty descriptive of the orbital, but it's not the whole story.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:43 AM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


oy vey an SLPP ;p
posted by infini at 5:03 AM on February 23, 2010


And I thought I was badass when I wrote out what the periodic table would look like with 200 elements.
posted by whuppy at 6:01 AM on February 23, 2010


The Mariana Trench is worthy of an FPP of it's own, IMHO.
posted by Artw at 6:06 AM on February 23, 2010


...couldn't click on a given orbital and see a big rotatable view...

Just follow the link to the downloadable and free Orbital Viewer (sorry, windows only)
It's rather computationally intensive to make these so that why they aren't live.

That same page also has a comprehensive help file (PDF)
A well as files for all of the Grand Table
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:08 AM on February 23, 2010


I had no idea they were orange and blue.
posted by Killick at 6:10 AM on February 23, 2010


That actually means that they're infected.
posted by Artw at 6:10 AM on February 23, 2010


n=5 l=4 m=5 looks like it should be fashioned of dough, deep friend and dusted with cinnamon and granulated sugar.
posted by slogger at 6:46 AM on February 23, 2010


Throw away your common sense and get an afro!: "The elements on the periodic table go up to n=7. This page lists orbitals up to n=10, which are all shapes predicted to occur in theoretical elements beyond 118."

I was just about to jump in here with a link to that very Wikipedia article. The breakdown of the Bohr model and the Zirac function at 137 is interesting. But what I find more fascinating is the implication (on Wikipedia) that the island of stability around 126 could represent the "end" of the periodic table. (Which means we're within spitting distance of discovering all possible elements.) I just wish there was a better reference for that claim.
posted by Plutor at 6:50 AM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


friend = fried

In more ways than one! Huzzah!
posted by slogger at 6:55 AM on February 23, 2010


Pretty! Thanks for the link.
posted by Sublimity at 7:42 AM on February 23, 2010


But what I find more fascinating is the implication (on Wikipedia) that the island of stability around 126 could represent the "end" of the periodic table.

well, neutron stars are basically gigantic nuclei...they'd be like, what, a trillion trillion trillion on the periodic table? (of course, their orbitals are probably a bit squished)
posted by sexyrobot at 8:28 AM on February 23, 2010


sexyrobot: "well, neutron stars are basically gigantic nuclei...they'd be like, what, a trillion trillion trillion on the periodic table?"

Well, I think we'd consider it element zero. (Although that article informs me that there's a lot of scientific uncertainty about the actual behavior of the material in neutron stars.)
posted by Plutor at 9:29 AM on February 23, 2010


Reminiscent of laser modes.
posted by ryanrs at 2:40 AM on February 23 [+] [!]


Well, laser modes and atomic orbitals are both harmonics of systems under certain constraints, so I guess they are related.
posted by atrazine at 3:18 AM on February 24, 2010


Probably a neutron star contains degenerate gases of both neutrons and electrons, with "free" protons to balance the electron charge. If the electron and proton components have the same sort of density as in a white dwarf, then a neutron star is a few parts per billion protons. This isn't very much but is still a pretty huge atomic number.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 3:57 AM on February 24, 2010


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