PDF Quantum Mechanics and Objectivity: A Study of the Physical Philosophy of Werner Heisenberg

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Springer-verlag contains the original scientific writings, which are arranged by topic with an introductory survey by a distinguished figure in the field. Series B Munich: Piper-Verlag contains review articles, lectures, and books. Series C Munich: Piper-Verlag contains the philosophical, political, and popular writings. A complete bibliography, including references to subsequent reprintings, translations, and excerpts, has been compiled by David Cassidy and M.

Quantum Mysticism: Gone but Not Forgotten

References to translations of Heisenberg works cited below are in the Bibliography. Heisenberg summarized his own physics in various periods in series of lectures that were subsequently published as textbooks. The most important of these include Die physikalischen Prinzipien der Quantentheorie Leipzig.

Some of the more widely distributed collections, published before the Collected Works , include Wandlungen in den Grundlagen der Naturwissenschaft Leipzig, ; 11th ed. Transcriptions are available in the repositories of the project.

Quantization and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle

Armin Hermann et al. New York, , II. Amsterdam, — ; and in many other places, for which see Bruce R. Wheaton and John L. The main body of material. The papers include administrative documents, lecture course notes, and extensive correspondence.


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A survey of all of the available extant archival papers through is provided by the Inventory of Sources for History of Twentieth—Century Physics, Office for History of Science and Technology , University of California. Berkeley, Some of the scientific correspondence and manuscripts are available on microfilm in the SHQP repositories.

Secondary Literature. A, and in Fritz Bopp, ed. Werner Heisenberg Munich.

Cappellari and C. Princeton university. Studies of postwar science policy, especially nuclear policy, with reference to Heisenberg include Armin Hermann et al. Aufstieg und Krise der deutschen Atomwirtschaft — Hamburg. Arbeitsweise, Kommentar Wiesbaden, Further references are in John L. Heilbron and Bruce R. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. September 25, Retrieved September 25, from Encyclopedia. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.

Putnam's Progress: Quantum Theory and the Flight from Realism

German physicist Werner Karl Heisenberg was a pioneer in the formalization of atomic theory. He won the Nobel Prize in physics for his discovery of the uncertainty principle , which states that it is impossible to specify the precise position and momentum of a particle at the same time.

Heisenberg also developed the theory of matrix mechanics. During World War II he was director of the German atomic bomb project, which led to his brief imprisonment following the war and some controversy during the remainder of his career. He received his education at the Maximilian Gymnasium in Munich and at the University of Munich, where his father was professor of Greek language and literature.


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Shortly before he began his university studies, he worked on a farm for several months and took active part in youth movements, searching for a way out of the social collapse that hit Germany at the end of World War I. Heisenberg was also a talented pianist, an avid hiker, and an eager student of classical literature and philosophy. At the university, where he enrolled in , Heisenberg soon established close contact with Arthur Sommerfeld, a chief figure in early modern physics, and with Sommerfeld's most outstanding student, Wolfgang Pauli , later a Nobel laureate.

Heisenberg spent the winter of at the University of Gettingen, where the physics department was rapidly establishing itself, with the help of Max Born , James Franck , and David Hilbert , as a center of theoretical physics. After taking his doctorate in Munich in , Heisenberg went on a Rockefeller grant to Niels Bohr's institute in Copenhagen, where he eagerly studied the most creative and up-to-date speculations on atomic theory.

The fusion of the influence of these mentors with the receptiveness of a most talented mind worked unusually well.

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No sooner had Heisenberg completed his stay in Copenhagen than he worked out, while recuperating on the shores of Helgoland from a heavy attack of hay fever , a comprehensive method of calculating the energy levels of "atomic oscillators. Born realized its importance and had it sent to the Physikalische Zeitschrift, where it was immediately printed under the title, "On Quantum Mechanical Interpretation of Kinematic and Mechanical Relations.

Book Quantum Mechanics And Objectivity A Study Of The Physical Philosophy Of Werner Heisenberg

Heisenberg's paper earned its author immediate fame and recognition. At Bohr's recommendation, in he was appointed lecturer in theoretical physics at the University of Copenhagen. It was there that Heisenberg gave much thought to the apparent discrepancy between two formulations of quantum theory , one based on matrix calculus, the other on wave equations elaborated by Erwin Schroedinger. In the course of his work on this question, Heisenberg realized that only those physical situations are "meaningful" in quantum mechanics in which the differences of the noncommutative products of conjugate variables occur.

He immediately saw that, because of these differences, one cannot determine simultaneously the position and velocity of an atomic particle or the energy level and its timing of an atomic oscillator. The recognition of this fact led Heisenberg to the formulation of the famous uncertainty principle , which appeared in on the pages of the Physikalische Zeitschrift in an article entitled, "On the Visualizable Content of Quantum Theoretical Kinematics and Mechanics. Heisenberg's rise was now as rapid in the academic as in the scientific world.

In , at the age of 26, he became professor of theoretical physics at the University of Leipzig. He was the recipient, along with Schroedinger and Paul Dirac, of the Nobel Prize for physics for In he took the chair of theoretical physics at the University of Berlin and the directorship of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics.

During this flurry of academic activity, in he married Elisabeth Schumacher, and they had seven children. As a theoretical scientist, Heisenberg was initially held in low regard and even considered suspect by the Nazi government. However, when World War II began, the government appointed him as director of the German uranium project, and he worked on developing an atomic bomb for Germany throughout the war.

Heisenberg was arrested and placed in Allied captivity in England from April until the summer of His role during the war continues to be a source of controversy. In the early s Heisenberg turned with great vigor toward the formulation of a "unified theory of fundamental particles," stressing the role of symmetry principles.

This theory was intensively discussed at an international conference in , the year he moved to the University of Munich as professor of physics. He also published the autobiographical Physics and Beyond and several books dealing with the philosophical and cultural implications of atomic and nuclear physics , all of which are available in English translation. Heisenberg retired in , although he continued to write on a variety of topics. His health began to fail in , and shortly thereafter he became seriously ill.

He died on February 1, in Munich. The best treatment of the conceptual foundations of Heisenberg's achievements in physics is the study by Patrick A. W erner Heisenberg was a pioneer of quantum mechanics, a theory that deals with atomic particles in terms of probability functions. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in for his formulation of quantum mechanics using matrices, or arrays of mathematical expressions.

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He is best known for his uncertainty principle , which states that it is impossible to simultaneously and precisely measure the position and velocity of a particle. He was a bright and ambitious student, always at the top of his class at the gymnasium secondary school , and also enjoyed playing classical piano. World War I disrupted this comfortable life, bringing shortages of food and fuel.

With most men serving in the military, students were expected to be tough and independent and were indoctrinated with nationalistic views. Heisenberg belonged to a military training unit at his school, and was elected leader of a group associated with the New Boy Scouts , a right-wing youth movement. He obtained his doctorate in with the first mediocre grade of his life, derived from averaging an outstanding performance in theoretical physics with a hopeless showing in laboratory work.

The quantum theory described light in terms of particle-like photons, with energy related to their wavelength. Heisenberg realized that this model implied a limit to the accuracy of certain measurements. An object is typically observed by bouncing electromagnetic radiation off it.

Ordinary visible light is not useful for looking at something the size of an electron, because such light's wavelength is too long. For sufficient resolution, the wavelength must be comparable to or smaller than the size of the object being observed. Photons with very short wavelengths, such as gamma rays , have very high energy. When they strike an electron, they change its velocity. The attempt to observe the situation thus affects it. Heisenberg published his uncertainty principle in The same year, he was appointed professor at the University of Leipzig.

"Copenhagen:" Books of Interest

As the Nazi regime rose to power, many other physicists urged him to leave Germany. He refused, despite increasingly shrill attacks by the Nazis upon those working in theoretical physics, which they viewed as a Jewish enterprise. In , deemed guilty by association with his colleagues, he was labeled a "White Jew" and threatened with imprisonment in a concentration camp.

Shaken, he pleaded his case to Nazi chief Heinrich Himmler and was "cleared.