The study of subatomic particles is referred to as “quantum mechanics” or “quantum physics.” However, the term “quantum mechanics” is more descriptive. It’s the name given to the field after it was reduced to mathematical rules. Then it evolved into a type of mechanics. The area was known as “quantum theory” or “quantum physics” before the establishment of mathematical laws governing subatomic particles. Physicists may tell the difference between “quantum mechanics” and “quantum physics,” but laypeople can not.
Distinction between Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Physics
Physicists discovered in the early 1900s that the rules governing atoms and their constituents differed from those governing ordinary objects such as tables and chairs through experiments. “Classical mechanics” or “Newtonian mechanics” are the mathematical laws that regulate the movements and forces of ordinary objects. For instance, Force = Mass multiplied by Acceleration is a classical mechanics mathematical law.
When physicists discovered that quantum particles do not obey classical mechanics’ laws, they coined the term “quantum theory.” Physicists first devised quantum rules that were mostly linguistic rather than mathematical.
Physicists introduced mathematical laws to explain quantum behavior in the 1920s. The core mathematical laws governing quantum particles (Schrodinger’s Wave Equation and Heisenberg Matrix Mechanics) were formulated by Erwin Schrodinger and Werner Heisenberg in particular. On the model of the term “classical mechanics,” physicists started naming the new discipline “quantum mechanics” at this stage.
The terms “quantum mechanics” and “quantum physics” are interchangeable, while “mechanics” emphasizes measurement.