Werner Heisenberg

Werner Heisenberg

Born: December 5th, 1901 in Würzberg, Germany


Dr. August Heisenberg and Annie Wecklein

Brother: Erwin Heisenberg

Werner attended the Maximilian School at Munich until 1920

(at right)

He then studied physics at the University of Munich under Sommerfeld 

During the winter of 1922-1923 Werner went to Göttingen to study physics under Max Born.

Eventually, Werner became Assistant to Max Born, and received the veina legendi.

At the young age of 26 Werner was appointed Professor of Theoretical  Physics at the University of Leipzig.  It was then that he developed his uncertainty principle.  

Werner is a theoretical physicist, so he conducted thought experiments and developed mathematical formulas. This includes the matrix mechanics formulation. He made contributions to nuclear physics and quantum theory. However, Werner is most well known for his uncertainty principle, which was asserted  in 1926.

We cannot observe both the speed and the position of the atom at the same time. When an atom is in a certain position and scientists try to observe it, the light source disturbs the 

atom.  The light source knocks the atom in an unpredictable way, and therefore the speed cannot be determined at the same time.

The Formula of the Uncertainty Principle

Δx = the uncertainty of the position

Δp = the uncertainty of the momentum

h = 6.62607004 × 10^-34

The more exact the position, the less exact the momentum, and vice versa.

Contributions to the Atomic Theory

Werner Heisenberg contributed greatly to the development of atomic theory through his uncertainty principle, and shaped our modern understanding of the atom.  He reported that because an atom is such a microscopic amount of mass, that observing it with any kind of radiation will move the particle in a different direction or velocity.  Additionally, Heisenberg's principle stated that the more certain an atom's position is, the less certain its momentum will be, and vice versa.

Werner Heisenberg died February 1st, 1976 in Munich, Germany.  He widowed wife Elizabeth Schumacher and left his seven children fatherless.

Werner Heisenburg Fun Facts

  • Werner was actually a distinguished pianist and greatly enjoyed classical music.
  • Werner spied on the Nazis and leaked information to the Allies.  Supposedly, he sabotaged the Nazis' atomic bomb project.  
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Werner Heisenberg

by laurenzelnis


Public - 9/21/16, 3:26 PM