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The Life and Times of a Nobel Laureate Essay

One of the more important historical figures within the scientific community was what Werner Heisenberg contributed to quantum physics. Born in Germany on December 5, 1901 to Dr. August Heisenberg and Annie Wecklem, the influences were already prominent for Werner to excel in sciences as he father had already excelled in his own dominance of “Middle and Modern Greek languages at the University of Munich” (Nobel Foundation, n. d. )

After graduation from the University of Munich in 1920, he excelled substantially in the field of physics and worked under such great physicists as Max Born, Franck and Hilbert and became an assistant under Max Born after receiving his Ph. D. in 1923. Heisenberg’s life moved on to become one of the better known physicists in German and until the Second World War he was a “Professor of Physics at the University of Berlin and the Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Physics.

” (Nobel Foundation, n. d. ) Dominance in Physics Heisenberg continued his dominance in the field of physics well after the War and continued to pursue his lifelong love of physics well past the War with his “return in 1946 to Germany and reorganized, along with colleagues, the Institute for Physics at Gottingen and in 1948 it was renamed the Max Planck Institute for Physics”. (Nobel Foundation, n. d. )

Perhaps the best association the world of physics has with the Heisenberg name is through the publishing of his “theory of quantum physics, published in 1925, when he was only 23 years old. For this theory and the applications of it which resulted in the discovery of allotropic forms of hydrogen, Heisenberg was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1932” (Nobel Foundation, n. d. ). This theory was based only “on what was observed, that is to say, on the radiation emitted by the atom.

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We cannot, he said, always assign to an electron a position in space at any given time, nor follow it in its orbit, so that we cannot assume that the planetary orbits postulated by Neils Bohr actually exists. 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 the terms of matrix equations. ” (Nobel Foundation, n.

d. ) Heisenberg’s theories were not simply limited to quantum physics but he was also famous for his “principle of uncertainty” which “lays it down that the determination of the position and the momentum of a mobile particle necessarily contains errors the product of which cannot be less than the quantum constant h and that, although these errors are negligible on the human scale, they cannot be ignored in the studies of the atom”. (Nobel Foundation, n. d. )

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