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Portrait of Werner Heisenberg

Portrait of Werner Heisenberg

H408/0152

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CERN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CERN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption

Werner Heisenberg (1901-76), German physicist and Nobel Laureate. Heisenberg was a major creative figure in the field of quantum mechanics. His papers on matrix mechanics eventually led to his 1932 Nobel Prize. He is best known for his Uncertainty Principle. This states that it is not possible to exactly determine both of a conjugate pair of properties (such as momentum and position, or time and energy) for a given object. This removed absolute causality from physics for the first time, replacing it with statistical probability. Heisenberg worked on the German nuclear bomb project in World War 2, later claiming to have effectively stalled its progress.

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