Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle Question

In summary, the conversation discusses the use of the relativistic momentum formula, p=\gamma m_o v, and its application in calculating the uncertainty in momentum, \Delta p. The formula for \Delta p is derived using the expression for \frac{ dp}{dv} and it is noted that it does not exactly match the expected result. The question also raises the concept of uncertainty in position, \Delta x_{min}, and questions why it cannot be reduced to a dirac delta function while the uncertainty in momentum can be large.
  • #1
stephen8686
42
5
Homework Statement
Show that the smallest possible uncertainty in the position of an whose speed is given by [itex]\beta=\frac{v}{c}[/itex] is: [tex]\Delta x_{min}=\frac{h}{4\pi m_o c}\sqrt{1-\beta^2}[/tex]
Relevant Equations
[tex]\Delta x \Delta p=\frac{h}{4\pi}[/tex]
So with the [itex]\gamma=\frac{1}{\sqrt{1-\beta^2}}[/itex] it seems obvious that relativistic momentum, [itex]p=\gamma m_o v[/itex] is supposed to be used.
Then [tex]\frac{ dp}{dv}=m_o(1-\beta^2)^{-1/2}+m_o v (\frac{-1}{2}(1-\beta^2)^{-3/2}(\frac{-2v}{c^2}))=m_o(\frac{1}{\sqrt{1-B^2}}+\frac{\beta}{(1-\beta^2)^{3/2}})=\frac{m_o}{(1-B^2)^{3/2}}[/tex]
so [itex] \Delta p=\frac{m_o\Delta v}{(1-B^2)^{3/2}}[/itex]

But this doesn't exactly fit the expression that I'm supposed to show. I don't know what do do with the [itex]\Delta v[/itex]. In addition to this, I don't think I conceptually understand the question. Why should there be a [itex]\Delta x_{min}[/itex]? Why can't the uncertainty in momentum be huge and the uncertainty in x be reduced to a dirac delta function?
 
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  • #2
Hint: You know the speed, but you don't know the direction the object is moving.
 

Related to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle Question

What is Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle?

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle is a fundamental principle in quantum mechanics that states that the more precisely we know the position of a particle, the less precisely we can know its momentum, and vice versa.

Who discovered Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle?

The principle was first described by German physicist Werner Heisenberg in 1927.

What is the significance of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle?

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle has significant implications for our understanding of the behavior of particles at the atomic and subatomic level. It shows that there are inherent limitations to our ability to measure and predict the behavior of particles.

How does Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle relate to the wave-particle duality?

The wave-particle duality is the idea that particles can exhibit both wave-like and particle-like behavior. Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle is a manifestation of this duality, as it shows that particles cannot have a well-defined position and momentum at the same time.

What are some real-world applications of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle?

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle has been applied in various fields, such as quantum cryptography, where it is used to ensure secure communication, and in the development of technologies such as MRI machines and electron microscopes.

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