“The Man Behind The Uncertainty Principle: The Life And Work of Heisenberg “

Today, it is the 117th birth anniversary of Werner Karl Heisenberg, the man behind the Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Born on December 5th, 1901, Werner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist and one of the key pioneers of the Quantum mechanics. He is widely considered as one of the most influential figures in the field of nuclear, particle and quantum physics.

220px-Bundesarchiv_Bild183-R57262,_Werner_Heisenberg
Werner Karl Heisenberg

Education :

Heisenberg was born to Dr. August Heisenberg and Annie Wecklein at Würzburgh. He went to the Maximilian school at Munich until 1920, when he went to the University of Munich to study physics under Sommerfeld, Wien, Pringsheim, and Rosenthal. During the winter of 1922-1923 he went to Göttingen to study physics under Max Born, Franck, and Hilbert. In 1923 he took his Ph.D. at the University of Munich and then became Assistant to Max Born at the University of Göttingen. From 1924 until 1925 he worked, with a Rockefeller Grant, with Niels Bohr, at the University of Copenhagen, returning for the summer of 1925 to Göttingen.In 1926 he was appointed Lecturer in Theoretical Physics at the University of Copenhagen under Niels Bohr.

The NOBEL discovery :

Heisenberg put forward the famous uncertainty principle,

Heisenberg_uncertainty_principle
Heisenberg’s uncertainty relation

which says that it is impossible to define precisely both the position and momentum of a quantum particle at the same time . Heisenberg published this principle in 1927 .This won him 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics at a young age of 31 for his creation of quantum mechanics.

Key Contributions:

Along with this, Heisenberg also made significant contributions to the theories of hydrodynamics of turbulent flow, the atomic nucleus, ferrimagnetism, cosmic rays, sub atomic particles, and was instrumental in planning the ‘Western German Nuclear Reactor at Karlsruhe, together with a research reactor in Munich in 1957. Heisenberg also suggested the idea of unified field theory, the so called “world formula“.Heisenberg has conducted many lecturer series across several countries during his lifetime. Some of his most important lectures have also been published as a book.

Awards and Honours :

Along with being a Nobel laureate, Heisenberg’s scientific endeavors made him win several other awards and honours as well. These include Matteucci Medal(1929),Barnard Medal for Meritorious Service to Science (1930),Max Planck Medal(1933) and ForMemRS (1955). Heisenberg was the director of Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physics until it was moved to Munich in 1958, where it was expanded and renamed as ‘Max Planck Institute for Particle and Astrophysics’. He was also the president of the German Research Council, chairman of the Commission for Atomic Physics, chairman of the Nuclear Physics Working Group and the president of the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation.


On February 1,1976, Heisenberg died of cancer of kidneys and gall bladder.He was 74 years old at time. Heisenberg’s contributions to science, especially the uncertainty principle have given new dimensions to the field of quantum mechanics and has inspired many to pursue to science and he will be an inspiration for the coming generations as well.

“Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think”
Werner Karl Heisenberg


Happy Birthday Genius!

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