Otto Stern and Werner Heisenberg

Otto Stern and Werner Heisenberg

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Credit: Paul Ehrenfest, Jr., courtesy AIP Emilio Segre Visual Archives, Weisskopf Collection /SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: German-US physicist Otto Stern (1888-1969, left) talking to German theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976, centre) at a conference. Stern's main research was on molecular beams. In 1920 he worked with Walter Gerlach, using a molecular beam of silver atoms to test a prediction of quantum theory. The prediction was that the atoms had magnetic moments that were quantized into two orientations. The beam split into two as predicted and earned Stern the 1943 Nobel Prize for Physics. Heisenberg was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on a matrix theory of quantum mechanics. In 1927, he had stated his uncertainty principle that a particle's momentum and position cannot both be determined. This means that subatomic events depend on probabilities.

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