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Quotes of the day: Werner Heisenberg

Published Saturday, February 01, 2014 @ 12:00 AM EST
Feb 01 2014

Werner Karl Heisenberg (December 5, 1901 – February 1, 1976) was a German theoretical physicist and one of the key creators of quantum mechanics... In 1927 he published his uncertainty principle, upon which he built his philosophy and for which he is best known. Heisenberg was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1932 "for the creation of quantum mechanics". He also made important contributions to the theories of the hydrodynamics of turbulent flows, the atomic nucleus, ferromagnetism, cosmic rays, and subatomic particles, and he was instrumental in planning the first West German nuclear reactor at Karlsruhe, together with a research reactor in Munich, in 1957. Considerable controversy surrounds his work on atomic research during World War II. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


(Today is also the birthday of S.J. Perelman)


An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject and how to avoid them.

Every experiment destroys some of the knowledge of the system which was obtained by previous experiments.

In general, scientific progress calls for no more than the absorption and elaboration of new ideas- and this is a call most scientists are happy to heed.

In the strict formulation of the law of causality- if we know the present, we can calculate the future- it is not the conclusion that is wrong but the premise.

It will never be possible by pure reason to arrive at some absolute truth.

Light and matter are both single entities, and the apparent duality arises in the limitations of our language.

Nature is made in such a way as to be able to be understood. Or perhaps I should put it- more correctly- the other way around, and say that we are made in such a way as to be able to understand Nature.

Quantum theory provides us with a striking illustration of the fact that we can fully understand a connection though we can only speak of it in images and parables.

Science no longer is in the position of observer of nature, but rather recognizes itself as part of the interplay between man and nature.

The conception of objective reality... has thus evaporated... into the transparent clarity of mathematics that represents no longer the behavior of particles but rather our knowledge of this behavior.

The existing scientific concepts cover always only a very limited part of reality, and the other part that has not yet been understood is infinite.

The more precise the measurement of position, the more imprecise the measurement of momentum, and vice versa. ('The Uncertainty Principle' of quantum mechanics)

The smallest units of matter are not physical objects in the ordinary sense; they are forms, ideas which can be expressed unambiguously only in mathematical language.

There is a fundamental error in separating the parts from the whole, the mistake of atomizing what should not be atomized. Unity and complementarity constitute reality.

What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.

Whenever we proceed from the known into the unknown we may hope to understand, but we may have to learn at the same time a new meaning of the word 'understanding.'


The Internet is run by a guy named Heisenberg, and his principles are undertain.
-Kevin G. Barkes

Categories: Quotes of the day, Werner Heisenberg


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