In current physics, an electron is a particle in space but a wave in an atom, by the miracle of wave-particle duality. Everyone knows that a particle isn’t a wave nor is a wave a particle but this “miracle” exists because it lets physics choose one set of equations for electrons in orbit and another for electrons in space. No-one asks “How does the electron know to be a particle in one place and a wave in another?”
Apparently, electrons know Pauli’s exclusion rule, that they can overlap like waves when they have different quantum numbers. The shell model lets electrons co-exist in “orbits” by quantum numbers that aren’t based on or even compatible with any other physical laws. Since quantum numbers were made up after the fact, it is a classic case of “backward logic”.
If electron particles really did orbit atomic nuclei as planets orbit the sun they would occasionally collide, but they never do. An atom of lead has 82 electrons whizzing around in close proximity but is stable for billions of years. How do all those particles never meet? And a particle in orbit is accelerating, so it should lose energy and spiral inwards but again electrons never do this. Are the laws of physics different for matter in an atom? Current theory handles this by inventing a cloud of virtual photons to shield electrons from the nuclear attraction and other electrons.
In quantum realism, an electron is one-dimensional matter, that is matter-like on one dimension but light-like on the other two. In three-dimensional space, the matter dimension makes the electron slower than light on average but on a two-dimensional surface around an atom it can be entirely light, i.e. entirely wave. A particle circling a center needs an agent to stop it falling in but wave can pulse forever if the circumference matches its wavelength. It can’t spiral in because its wavelength sets a minimum orbit circumference and waves of different harmonics can accommodate many waves that never “collide” (see next section). Electrons as matter-light hybrids lets an electron be a particle in space and a wave in an atom. It predicts that while electrons move slower than light in three-dimensional space they pulsate in atoms at the speed of light.