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Heisenberg's uncertainity principle

  1. Oct 17, 2012 #1
    Can someone please explain the history of Heisenberg discovered his uncertainty principle? Was he trying to physically measure the position and momentum of an electron to disprove the old atom model or did he just do it hypothetically?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 17, 2012 #2
    Uncertainity principle:

    Well, Heisenberg was in a "rival" battle against Schrodinger. Both people had very different ideas on how the atom worked. Heisenberg had his uncertainity principle, while Schrodinger had his time-dependent equation (generally used form). At first Schrodinger's equation was popular. It was like similar to other physics equations, and Schrodinger was able to produce an actual image of the atom.

    However, Heisenberg's equation was very different. He had proposed a completely new idea - that you could not know both the position and momentum of a particle at the same time. This was sort of a shock to most physicists - this type of thinking had never been seen before. However, Heisenberg's theory gained acceptance soon. Schrodinger's equation did not die out of use either as he was right too.

    I think Heisenberg main motivation was to prove Schrodinger wrong. After all - they hated each other. Sorry if I'm spouting out nonsense - I'm only in middle school. But I'm pretty sure about the above. I know there is more to this that I may have explained. For example - Heisenberg supposedly came up with his theory when he was on an island when he was sick (I know - this sounds far-fetched). He also worked with Bohr a lot when developing his theories.

    Anyway - hope this helped! :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2013
  4. Oct 17, 2012 #3


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    He was attempting to formulate a mathematical theory to explain the observed results seen in experiments. He ended up using Matrix Mechanics and the uncertainty principle can be seen to be a result of the way Matrix Mechanics works.

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