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Quantum mechanics (QM; also known as quantum physics, quantum theory, the wave mechanical model, or matrix mechanics), including quantum field theory, is a fundamental theory in physics which describes nature at the smallest scales of energy levels of atoms and subatomic particles.Classical physics, the description of physics existing before the formulation of the theory of relativity and of quantum mechanics, describes nature at ordinary (macroscopic) scale. Most theories in classical physics can be derived from quantum mechanics as an approximation valid at large (macroscopic) scale.
Quantum mechanics differs from classical physics in that energy, momentum, angular momentum and other quantities of a bound system are restricted to discrete values (quantization), objects have characteristics of both particles and waves (wave-particle duality), and there are limits to the precision with which quantities can be measured (the uncertainty principle).Quantum mechanics gradually arose from theories to explain observations which could not be reconciled with classical physics, such as Max Planck's solution in 1900 to the black-body radiation problem, and from the correspondence between energy and frequency in Albert Einstein's 1905 paper which explained the photoelectric effect. Early quantum theory was profoundly re-conceived in the mid-1920s by Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, Max Born and others. The modern theory is formulated in various specially developed mathematical formalisms. In one of them, a mathematical function, the wave function, provides information about the probability amplitude of position, momentum, and other physical properties of a particle.

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