Werner Heisenberg And The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

4926 words - 20 pages

Werner Heisenberg, born in the dawn of the twentieth century became one
of its greatest physicists; he is also among its most controversial.
While still in his early twenties, he was among the handful of bright,
young men who created quantum mechanics, the basic physics of the atom,
and he became a leader of nuclear physics and elementary particle
research. He is best known for his uncertainty principle, a component
of the so-called Copenhagen interpretation of the meaning, and uses of
quantum mechanics.
Through his successful life, he lived through two lost World Wars,
Soviet Revolution, military occupation, two republics, political unrest,
and Hitler’s Third Reich. He ...view middle of the document...

The Heisenberg family were accomplished
musicians. Every evening they would sit and practice together. August
was on the piano, Erwin played the violin, and Werner played the cello.
Their mother insisted that she had no musical talent as an excuse to not
be involved in the male competition. Later Werner also learned the
piano and used his musical talents as a social vehicle during the course
of his life. This manly competition carried out in many other
activities in the house. Sometimes August Heisenberg would make games
out of difficult homework problems that the boys had. Werner once said
when reflecting back on his childhood, "Our father used to play all
kinds of games with [us] …. And since he was a good teacher, he found
that the games could be used for the educating the children. So when my
brother had some mathematical problems in his schoolwork …. he tried to
use these problems as a kind of game and find out who could do them
quickly, and so on. Somehow, I discovered that I could do that kind of
mathematics rather quickly, so from that time on I had a special
interest in mathematics." This constant competition caused many fights
between the brothers. As they grew older the fights became more
vicious. One time the fight became particularly bloody where they beat
each other with wooden chairs. After this confrontation the brothers
called a truce and hardly interacted with each other except for
occasional family get togethers when they were adults.
In school, Werner began to show his amazing ability early on. He
excelled through school and always received complementary remarks from
his teachers. As a result from the competition with his brother he
developed a hard work ethic and a strong drive to succeed. Even though
Werner was not a good runner he would run around the track timing
himself with a stopwatch trying to improve his running times. A teacher
of his once said, "The pupil is also extraordinary, self-confident and
always wants to excel." Werner Heisenberg excelled in math, physics, and
religion in which he consistently received 1’s (the equivalent of A’s).
The subjects that he did not fair as well in were German and Athletics
which he usually received 2’s (or B’s). At the age of thirteen one of
his teachers noted that his interests were moving to more
"physical-technical things". This change in interests moved Heisenberg
along the path from the geometry of objects into the realm of
theoretical physics, especially the mathematical analysis of physical
objects and data. As a pupil at the Gymnasium, he was intrigued by
Einstein’s theory of relativity and it’s explanation. He later recalled
that mastering the mathematics in Einstein’s book gave him no
difficulty. At the age of sixteen he tutored a 24 year old university
calculus student to pass her final examination. Having no previous
knowledge in calculus, he set...

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