Illustration of Zitterbewegung

1930 Zitterbewegung

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Erwin Schrödinger quantum mechanics Illustration of Zitterbewegung


Everything’s in motion especially when focused on what’s too small to see. Elementary particles buzz about their centers oscillating with a miniscule amplitude.

Yin and yang

Yin dances with yang. Positive dances with negative to a miniscule beat. Changes implicit in the charges. Positive becoming negative and negative becoming positive give alternate readings.


I have a friend who trembles, never at rest. Something insufficient with his neurons. Macroscopic energy, analog of the microscopic, gives it a buzz. The rest of us, the opposite of myopic, are blessedly numb.

Zitterbewegung means, in German, “trembling motion.”

The amplitude of a Zitterbewegung is the Compton wavelength of the particle. You heard it here first.

See also in The book of science:

Readings in wikipedia: