Rewritten from scratch for the iPad, Atom in a Box HD is an aid for visualizing the Hydrogen atomic orbitals, the three-dimensional states that the electron occupies in Hydrogen, a prime and otherwise unwieldy example of Quantum Mechanics. It interactively shows, in an immersive environment, what the Hydrogen atom "looks" like. Unique among visualizations of Quantum Mechanics, it uses highly optimized code to perform 3D volumetric raytracing through the electron wavefunction's probability density and presents its results in real-time. It animates and mathematically describes all 2109 eigenstates up to the n=18 energy level. The app links to an online FAQ (see the Support link), and the atom rotates with the accelerometer and magnetometer. The bottom line is: Explore! The user are meant to explore all aspects of the atom, what it is and what it can do.
Updated to run as a 64-bit native app
Completed compatibility with iOS 11 including:
- device orientation
- string drawing
- root view controller
- new font names
- method name collisions
Revised settings colors to not distract from the orbital
Removed calls to deprecated iOS APIs
Ratings and Reviews
a step up from static images
Nice, it's a step up from what you can see from static images of orbitals available online, through Wikipedia and others. It's more convenient, and presents larger images, than if I try to lecture from static pictures.
The relative phase information is useful, but it doesn't seem relevant that it can evolve -- vanilla phase is enough it seems to me, for stationary states. The sound effects are pure gimmick, and not informational.
Besides convenience, and resolution, the best reason for this app is that you can swipe the screen to tip and tilt the orbitals, getting a better sense of the 3D structure, which is useful since a fixed projection can be confusing.
The price is about a dollar higher than what seems to me a fair price for what you get; there's perhaps a free runtime Mathematica version available that would do much, but probably less conveniently. It's not clear that the iPad version offers enough more to justify its significantly higher price.
Conclusion: accurate content, cleanly displayed, snack-food value.
Up to six family members will be able to use this app with Family Sharing enabled.