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Wilson Cloud Chamber and HUP

  1. May 10, 2010 #1


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    An alpha-particle produced by radioactive decay leaves a visible continuous track in a Wilson Cloud Chamber. As it collides with and ionizes the molecules of the vapor, its position is constantly being “measured” by the vapor molecules. If a magnetic field is present, its track will be curved and its momentum can be determined based on the degree of curvature (less curvature = more momentum). It seems like the particle’s position and momentum are both being measured precisely at the same time. Where is the Uncertainty Principle in this scenario?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 10, 2010 #2
    Heisenberg inequality bound is usually far far far below the experimental resolution of such a chamber. Maybe you should use realistic numbers to check that.
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