Q:

How do I describe the Bohr model of the hydrogen atom?

A:

Quick Answer

The Bohr model of the hydrogen atom consists of a heavy proton orbited by an electron. It's best described as like a planet orbiting a star. Instead of gravity providing the attractive force to the system, the electron is attracted to the proton via electrostatic forces.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

Niels Bohr unveiled his model in 1913 and successfully predicted the structure of the hydrogen atom. The concept is based on the theory that electrons could only exist in specific energy orbits. The orbit closest to the proton had the lowest energy and energy increased further from the proton. A photon could knock the electron out of its orbit and into a higher energy orbit, causing an absorption of energy, or fall into a lower energy orbit, creating a release of energy. The lowest and most stable energy orbit was called n=1 and each orbit was numbered sequentially from there.

Bohr's model is primitive by modern standards and completely fails when extrapolating the structure of larger atoms. His model assumes one knows the position and momentum of the electron, which is impossible, according to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. He also failed to consider the electron-electron interaction in larger atoms. While obsolete, the Bohr model does help introduce the concept of quantum mechanics.

Learn more about Atoms & Molecules

Related Questions

Explore