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Werner Heisenberg (1901 – 1976)


German physicist, Nobel laureate, and one of the founders of the field of quantum mechanics.
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Werner Heisenberg
The physicist may be satisfied when he has the mathematical scheme and knows how to use for the interpretation of the experiments. But he has to speak about his results also to non-physicists who will not be satisfied unless some explanation is given in plain language. Even for the physicist the description in plain language will be the criterion of the degree of understanding that has been reached.
Heisenberg quotes
We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.
Heisenberg
Heisenberg's name will always be associated with his theory of quantum mechanics, published in 1925, when he was only 23 years old. For this theory and the applications of it which resulted especially in the discovery of allotropic forms of hydrogen, Heisenberg was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for 1932.
His new theory was based only on what can be observed, that is to say, on the radiation emitted by the atom. We cannot, he said, always assign to an electron a position in space at a given time, nor follow it in its orbit, so that we cannot assume that the planetary orbits postulated by Niels Bohr actually exist. Mechanical quantities, such as position, velocity, etc. should be represented, not by ordinary numbers, but by abstract mathematical structures called "matrices" and he formulated his new theory in terms of matrix equations.




Heisenberg Werner quotes
When he arrived he looked like a simple peasant boy, with short, fair hair, clear bright eyes and a charming expression. He took his duties as an assistant more seriously than Pauli and was a great help to me. His incredible quickness and acuteness of apprehension has always enabled him to do a colossal amount of work without much effort; he finished his hydrodynamic thesis, worked on atomic problems partly alone, partly in collaboration with me, and helped me to direct my research students.
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