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08080084

Understanding the zero point energy of the quantum harmonic oscillator as a consequence of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

Learning Outcomes:

• Understanding why the minimum energy of a ball in a bowl must be greater than zero based on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

• How the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle adds a purely quantum mechanical kinetic energy to the ball, in addition to its classical potential energy.

• Understanding graphically how the total energy – the sum of the classical potential energy and the new quantum kinetic energy – has a minimum that is greater than zero: the zero point energy.

©2012 Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics