Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Need Help Understanding a Quantum Mechanics Equation

  1. Apr 23, 2012 #1
    Can anyone please help me understand this equation and explain it to me?

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 23, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    That says that you can measure the position of an object as accurately as you please ([itex]\Delta x[/itex] is the "error" in measuring the position) or you can measure the momentum as accurately as you please ([itex]\Delta p[/itex] is the "error" in measuring momentum) but you cannot measure both any more accurately than given by that equation.
  4. Apr 23, 2012 #3
    Bootsie, welcome to PF!

    The equation you have there is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. The term Δx refers to the uncertainty on the part of an observer on a particle's positions, and Δp refers to the observers uncertainty about a particle's momentum.

    Essentially, the equation says that the more definite a particle's position, the less you can know about it's momentum - and vice versa. It can be generalized to any attributes of a particle, the HUP essentially states that a particle can never have definite properties.


    EDIT: Looks like HallsofIvy beat me to it.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook