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I understand that the square of the wave function is the probability density of finding an electron. However, what is the wave function itself? I am trying to understand molecular orbital theory but this concept is getting in the way of me completely understanding it. Any help would be great. Thanks.


marked as duplicate by Geoff Hutchison, Klaus-Dieter Warzecha, Freddy, Wildcat, Philipp Sep 22 '14 at 18:03

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    $\begingroup$ A very similar question was just asked recently here: chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/16467/… $\endgroup$ – Geoff Hutchison Sep 22 '14 at 16:00
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. I am looking for a conceptual understanding of what the wave function is. In that thread it was described as a trajectory but there was no explanation. Could you perhaps clarify - at least on a conceptual level? $\endgroup$ – RobChem Sep 22 '14 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ @user3764899 quantum mechanics is constructed as derivative of Hamiltonian formulation of classical mechanics by changing operator over trajectory to operator over (time-dependent) field. You can look for more here (warning, hardcore math ahead) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamiltonian_mechanics $\endgroup$ – permeakra Sep 22 '14 at 17:43
  • It is often asked "what is waving when a particle is described as a wave?" and the correct response is "existence itself is waving."

  • The wavefunction is most elegantly described as a description of reality for your system. You then act on the wavefuntion with a hamiltonian to yeild an eigenvalue to quantify the energy.


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