Werner Heisenberg Biography

Werner Karl Heisenberg (December 5, 1901 – February 1, 1976) is a German philosopher, scientist and physicist, renowned for being the creator of Quantum Mechanics, managing to formulate his theory and paving the way for the discovery of the allotropic forms of Hydrogen.


He is also regarded as one of the most influential thinkers in the history of the twentieth century, for having succeeded in promulgating his Principle of Uncertainty, which was an important contribution in Western Philosophy, while making him worthy in 1932 of the Prize Nobel Prize in Physics.

Early years

Heisenberg was born on 5 December 1901 in W’rzburg, Germany. His father, Augustus Heisemberg, was Professor of Philology and Greek Literature at the University of W’rzburg. His mother, Anna Wecklein, was the daughter of the rector of Maximilians Gymnasium.

He began his studies at a local school in the city, where he remained until 1910, when he had to move with his family, due to his father’s appointment at the University of Munich.

In 1911, he entered the Maximilians-Gymnasium, where he showed great talent for mathematics. In 1920, Heisemberg entered the University of Munich, where he had the opportunity to become a disciple of a disaffected spectroscopy researcher named Arnold Sommerfeld, who was at the same time a great scholar of the quantum model, exhibited in 1913 by Niels Bohr.

Three years later, in 1923, he graduated presenting a degree work on hydrodynamics. In 1922, he was received as a disciple of researcher Max Born, at the University of Gottingen, where he had the opportunity to meet Niels Bohr himself. In 1924, he was finally authorized to teach at the university level.

Foundation of quantum mechanics

In 1925, he concluded that Bohr’s proposed atom model was unable to analyze the spectra and ways of acting on elements with more than one electron. On his return to Gottingen, under the guidance of Max Born and student Pascual Jordan, Heisemberg began the task of establishing mathematical formulas that would allow knowledge of atomic properties.

Heisemberg realized that he had to abandon the concept of orbit ingesting electrons and lean towards the theory of the state of the electron, concluding that it drew spectral lines as it moved, and that these could be represented in the form of Arrays.

He published his findings in September 1925, under the title On Quantum Mechanics, which he expanded in December of that year, in On Quantum Mechanics II, inaugurating the New Quantum Mechanics.

Uncertainty principle

In the midst of research by shaping a final theory of what would become Quantum Mechanics, both Born, Jordan and especially Heisemberg were very frustrated at not being able to relate their theories to images of reality, these being belonging to the Traditional mechanics, unable to relate analogously to the laws of Quantum Mechanics. In other words, the reality we perceive did not correspond to atomic reality.

Heisemberg concluded that there are pairs of physical variables that cannot be calculated simultaneously with the highest accuracy, such as the position and timing of a particle, because when repeated such a calculation is obtained a slight calculation is obtained fluctuation around certain average values. Heisemberg called this phenomenon Principle of Indeterminacy.

In this sense, uncertainties are the result of calculations that can never be reduced to zero, further demonstrating that the uncertainties of both pairs of variables must always be greater than a constant dependent on the Planck constant, so the Quantum Mechanics only accounts for statistics on the properties of the atom, casting the Principle of Uncertainty on the same notions of the origin of the Universe and Matter, thus abolishing the belief that Science was the discipline capable of measuring with accuracy of all natural phenomena.

Nobel Prize and other awards

In 1927, he was appointed professor in Leipzig. He was actively involved in other important research related to quantum field theory, atomic nucleus theory, as well as proton development and neutron interaction through the Strong Force. In 1932 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

At that time he witnessed the Nazi party’s coming to power, as well as the various persecutions of this regime against its fellow sciences, being the victim of some political hostilities.

However, he never thought of leaving Germany. In 1937 he married Elizabeth Heisenberg Schumaher, with whom he had seven children. In 1941 he was appointed Professor of Physics at the University of Berlin.

Post-war and later years

He was arrested by the United States Government in England, along with other scientists, at the end of World War II. In 1946 he returned to Germany, where in 1948 he founded the Maz Planck Institute with other colleagues.

From 1957 he devoted himself to the research of thermonuclear processes, as well as to the understanding of elementary particles.

He received several awards and recognitions, including doctorates from the University of Brussels, Karlsruhe University of Technology and the University of Budapest.

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Werner Heisenberg Biography
Source: Education  
July 27, 2019


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