1. The wave function of an atom containing many electrons has not yet been solved completely, even that of helium being as yet unknown. In the absence of a direct solution of the Schrödinger equation for the electrons in an atom, various attempts have been made to devise approximate methods of solution in particular cases. The particular case of helium, being the easiest, has received considerable attention and a number of approximate wave functions appropriate to the normal state have been constructed. These functions usually contain empirical constants which are adjusted to make the energy of the system a minimum. Zener has attempted the more ambitious programme of finding the wave functions of all the atoms in the first period of the Periodic Table (Lithium to Neon), and has made interesting discoveries as to the way in which the wave functions differ from atom to atom. This work also is based on the variation of parameters.
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