more from Werner Heisenberg

Single Idea 17537

[catalogued under 27. Natural Reality / B. Modern Physics / 4. Standard Model / a. Concept of matter]

Full Idea

The knowledge of the position of a particle is complementary to the knowledge of its velocity or momentum. If we know one with high accuracy we cannot know the other with high accuracy; still we must know both for determining the behaviour of the system.

Gist of Idea

Position is complementary to velocity or momentum, so the whole system is indeterminate


Werner Heisenberg (Physics and Philosophy [1958], 03)

Book Reference

Heisenberg,Werner: 'Physics and Philosophy' [Penguin 1989], p.37

A Reaction

This is the famous Uncertainty Principle, expressed in plain language by the man himself. At this point we lost our grip on the prospects of determining the behaviour of natural systems.