Frasi di Werner Karl Heisenberg

Werner Karl Heisenberg photo
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Werner Karl Heisenberg

Data di nascita: 5. Dicembre 1901
Data di morte: 1. Febbraio 1976

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Werner Karl Heisenberg è stato un fisico tedesco.

Premio Nobel per la fisica nel 1932, fu uno dei fondatori della meccanica quantistica.

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Frasi Werner Karl Heisenberg

Pubblicità

„The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.“

— Werner Heisenberg
“Der erste Trunk aus dem Becher der Naturwissenschaft macht atheistisch, aber auf dem Grund des Bechers wartet Gott.” in 15 Jahrhunderte Würzburg: e. Stadt u. ihre Geschichte [15 centuries Würzburg. A city and its history] (1979), p. 205, by Heinz Otremba. The quote per se cannot be found in Heisenberg's published works, and Otremba apparently does not declare his source. The journalist Eike Christian Hirsch PhD, a personal aquaintance of Heisenberg, whom he interviewed for his 1981 book Expedition in die Glaubenswelt, informed de.wikiquote on 22 June 2015, that content and style of the quote was completely foreign to Heisenberg's convictions and the way he used to express himself, and that Heisenberg's children, Dr. Maria Hirsch and Prof. Dr. Martin Heisenberg, did not recognize their father in this quote. Hirsch has suggested that the quote and its attribution to Heisenberg may have been fabricated by a fundamentalist English-speaking Christian seeking support for his faith, and he points to the similar precursor remarks of Francis Bacon, in "Of Atheism" (1601): "A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion", and of Alexander Pope, in "An Essay on Criticism" (1709): "A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again." However, there is a passage in a lengthy essay written by Heisenberg in 1942, "Ordnung der Wirklichkeit” ("Reality and Its Order"), published in Collected Works. Section C: Philosophical and Popular Writings. Volume I. Physics and Cognition. 1927-1955 (1984), that parallels the ideas expressed in the quote (albeit in a much expanded form): "The first thing we could say was simply: 'I believe in God, the Father, the almighty creator of heaven and earth.' The next step — at least for our contemporary consciousness — was doubt. There is no god; there is only an impersonal law that directs the fate of the world according to cause and effect... And yet [today], we may with full confidence place ourselves into the hands of the higher power who, during our lifetime and in the course of the centuries, determines our faith and therewith our world and our fate." (English translation by M.B.Rumscheidt and N. Lukens, available at http://www.heisenbergfamily.org/t-OdW-english.htm) Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, a protégé of Heisenberg, did publish a version of the quote itself in Die Geschichte der Natur (The History of Nature) (1948), appearing to consider it an adage: "Aus dem Denken gibt es keinen ehrlichen Rückweg in einen naiven Glauben. Nach einem alten Satz trennt uns der erste Schluck aus dem Becher der Erkenntnis von Gott, aber auf dem Grunde des Bechers wartet Gott auf den, der ihn sucht. Wenn es so ist, dann gibt es einen Weg des Denkens, der vorwärts zu religiösen Wahrheiten führt, und nur diesen Weg zu suchen ist lohnend. Wenn es nicht so ist, wird unsere Welt auf die Religion ihre Hoffnungen vergeblich setzen." ("From thinking there is no honest way back into a naive belief. According to an old phrase, the first sip from the cup of knowledge separates us from God, but at the bottom of the cup God is waiting for the one who seeks him. If so, then there is a way of thinking that leads to religious truths, and to seek only that way is rewarding. If it is not so, our world will put its hopes to religion in vain.")

„Whenever we proceed from the known into the unknown we may hope to understand, but we may have to learn at the same time a new meaning of the word "understanding."“

— Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science
Context: Whenever we proceed from the known into the unknown we may hope to understand, but we may have to learn at the same time a new meaning of the word "understanding."

„Any concepts or words which have been formed in the past through the interplay between the world and ourselves are not really sharply defined with respect to their meaning: that is to say, we do not know exactly how far they will help us in finding our way in the world.“

— Werner Heisenberg
Context: Any concepts or words which have been formed in the past through the interplay between the world and ourselves are not really sharply defined with respect to their meaning: that is to say, we do not know exactly how far they will help us in finding our way in the world. We often know that they can be applied to a wide range of inner or outer experience, but we practically never know precisely the limits of their applicability. This is true even of the simplest and most general concepts like "existence" and "space and time". Therefore, it will never be possible by pure reason to arrive at some absolute truth. The concepts may, however, be sharply defined with regard to their connections. This is actually the fact when the concepts become part of a system of axioms and definitions which can be expressed consistently by a mathematical scheme. Such a group of connected concepts may be applicable to a wide field of experience and will help us to find our way in this field. But the limits of the applicability will in general not be known, at least not completely.

Pubblicità

„The elementary particles in Plato's Timaeus are finally not substance but mathematical forms. "All things are numbers" is a sentence attributed to Pythagoras.“

— Werner Heisenberg
Context: But the resemblance of the modern views to those of Plato and the Pythagoreans can be carried somewhat further. The elementary particles in Plato's Timaeus are finally not substance but mathematical forms. "All things are numbers" is a sentence attributed to Pythagoras. The only mathematical forms available at that time were such geometric forms as the regular solids or the triangles which form their surface. In modern quantum theory there can be no doubt that the elementary particles will finally also be mathematical forms but of a much more complicated nature.

„Therefore, the mathematical forms that represent the elementary particles will be solutions of some eternal law of motion for matter.“

— Werner Heisenberg
Context: The equation of motion holds at all times, it is in this sense eternal, whereas the geometrical forms, like the orbits, are changing. Therefore, the mathematical forms that represent the elementary particles will be solutions of some eternal law of motion for matter. Actually this is a problem which has not yet been solved.<!-- p. 72

„Can nature possibly be so absurd as it seemed to us in these atomic experiments?“

— Werner Heisenberg
Context: I remember discussions with Bohr which went through many hours till very late at night and ended almost in despair; and when at the end of the discussion I went alone for a walk in the neighbouring park I repeated to myself again and again the question: Can nature possibly be so absurd as it seemed to us in these atomic experiments?

„Even for the physicist the description in plain language will be the criterion of the degree of understanding that has been reached.“

— Werner Heisenberg
Context: The physicist may be satisfied when he has the mathematical scheme and knows how to use for the interpretation of the experiments. But he has to speak about his results also to non-physicists who will not be satisfied unless some explanation is given in plain language. Even for the physicist the description in plain language will be the criterion of the degree of understanding that has been reached.

Pubblicità

„The equation of motion holds at all times, it is in this sense eternal“

— Werner Heisenberg
Context: The equation of motion holds at all times, it is in this sense eternal, whereas the geometrical forms, like the orbits, are changing. Therefore, the mathematical forms that represent the elementary particles will be solutions of some eternal law of motion for matter. Actually this is a problem which has not yet been solved.<!-- p. 72

„The elementary particles are certainly not eternal and indestructible units of matter, they can actually be transformed into each other.“

— Werner Heisenberg
Context: In the philosophy of Democritus the atoms are eternal and indestructible units of matter, they can never be transformed into each other. With regard to this question modern physics takes a definite stand against the materialism of Democritus and for Plato and the Pythagoreans. The elementary particles are certainly not eternal and indestructible units of matter, they can actually be transformed into each other. As a matter of fact, if two such particles, moving through space with a very high kinetic energy, collide, then many new elementary particles may be created from the available energy and the old particles may have disappeared in the collision. Such events have been frequently observed and offer the best proof that all particles are made of the same substance: energy. <!-- p. 71

„The law of causality is no longer applied in quantum theory and the law of conservation of matter is no longer true for the elementary particles.“

— Werner Heisenberg
Context: The law of causality is no longer applied in quantum theory and the law of conservation of matter is no longer true for the elementary particles. Obviously Kant could not have foreseen the new discoveries, but since he was convinced that his concepts would be "the basis of any future metaphysics that can be called science" it is interesting to see where his arguments have been wrong.

„Natural science does not simply describe and explain nature; it is part of the interplay between nature and ourselves; it describes nature as exposed to our nature of questioning.“

— Werner Heisenberg
Context: [I]n the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory we can indeed proceed without mentioning ourselves as individuals, but we cannot disregard the fact that natural science is formed by men. Natural science does not simply describe and explain nature; it is part of the interplay between nature and ourselves; it describes nature as exposed to our nature of questioning. This was a possibility of which Descartes could not have thought, but it makes a sharp separation between the world and the I impossible. If one follows the great difficulty which even eminent scientists like Einstein had in understanding and accepting the Copenhagen interpretation... one can trace the roots... to the Cartesian partition.... it will take a long time for it [this partition] to be replaced by a really different attitude toward the problem of reality. <!--p. 81

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