Frasi di Werner Karl Heisenberg

Werner Karl Heisenberg foto
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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.

Frasi Werner Karl Heisenberg

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„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."

„The existing scientific concepts cover always only a very limited part of reality, and the other part that has not yet been understood is infinite.“

— Werner Heisenberg
Context: The existing scientific concepts cover always only a very limited part of reality, and the other part that has not yet been understood is infinite.<!-- p. 201

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„However the development proceeds in detail, the path so far traced by the quantum theory indicates that an understanding of those still unclarified features of atomic physics can only be acquired by foregoing visualization and objectification to an extent greater than that customary hitherto.“

— Werner Heisenberg
Context: However the development proceeds in detail, the path so far traced by the quantum theory indicates that an understanding of those still unclarified features of atomic physics can only be acquired by foregoing visualization and objectification to an extent greater than that customary hitherto. We have probably no reason to regret this, because the thought of the great epistemological difficulties with which the visual atom concept of earlier physics had to contend gives us the hope that the abstracter atomic physics developing at present will one day fit more harmoniously into the great edifice of Science.

„Light and matter are both single entities, and the apparent duality arises in the limitations of our language.“

— Werner Heisenberg
Context: Light and matter are both single entities, and the apparent duality arises in the limitations of our language. It is not surprising that our language should be incapable of describing the processes occurring within the atoms, for, as has been remarked, it was invented to describe the experiences of daily life, and these consist only of processes involving exceedingly large numbers of atoms. Furthermore, it is very difficult to modify our language so that it will be able to describe these atomic processes, for words can only describe things of which we can form mental pictures, and this ability, too, is a result of daily experience. Fortunately, mathematics is not subject to this limitation, and it has been possible to invent a mathematical scheme — the quantum theory — which seems entirely adequate for the treatment of atomic processes; for visualisation, however, we must content ourselves with two incomplete analogies — the wave picture and the corpuscular picture. "Introductory" in The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory (1930) as translated by Carl Eckhart and Frank C. Hoyt, p. 10

„The words "position" and "velocity" of an electron... seemed perfectly well defined... and in fact they were clearly defined concepts within the mathematical framework of Newtonian mechanics. But actually they were not well defined, as seen from the relations of uncertainty.“

— Werner Heisenberg
Context: The words "position" and "velocity" of an electron... seemed perfectly well defined... and in fact they were clearly defined concepts within the mathematical framework of Newtonian mechanics. But actually they were not well defined, as seen from the relations of uncertainty. One may say that regarding their position in Newtonian mechanics they were well defined, but in their relation to nature, they were not. This shows that we can never know beforehand which limitations will be put on the applicability of certain concepts by the extension of our knowledge into the remote parts of nature, into which we can only penetrate with the most elaborate tools. Therefore, in the process of penetration we are bound sometimes to use our concepts in a way which is not justified and which carries no meaning. Insistence on the postulate of complete logical clarification would make science impossible. We are reminded... of the old wisdom that one who insists on never uttering an error must remain silent.

„If nature leads us to mathematical forms of great simplicity and beauty“

— Werner Heisenberg
Context: If nature leads us to mathematical forms of great simplicity and beauty—by forms I am referring to coherent systems of hypothesis, axioms, etc.—to forms that no one has previously encountered, we cannot help thinking that they are "true," that they reveal a genuine feature of nature... You must have felt this too: The almost frightening simplicity and wholeness of relationships which nature suddenly spreads out before us and for which none of us was in the least prepared. Conversation with Einstein, as quoted in Bittersweet Destiny: The Stormy Evolution of Human Behavior by Del Thiessen

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„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.

„The Greek philosophers thought of static forms“

— Werner Heisenberg
Context: The Greek philosophers thought of static forms and found them in the regular solids. Modern science, however, has from its beginning in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries started from the dynamic problem. The constant element in physics since Newton is not a configuration or a geometrical form, but a dynamic law.<!-- p. 72

„The interest of research workers has frequently been focused on the phenomenon of regularly shaped crystals suddenly forming from a liquid“

— Werner Heisenberg
Context: The interest of research workers has frequently been focused on the phenomenon of regularly shaped crystals suddenly forming from a liquid, e. g. a supersaturated salt solution. According to the atomic theory the forming force in this process is to a certain extent the symmetry characteristic of the solution to Schrödinger's wave equation, and to that extent crystallization is explained by the atomic theory. Nevertheless this process retains a statistical and — one might almost say — historical element which cannot be further reduced: even when the state of the liquid is completely known before crystallization, the shape of the crystal is not determined by the laws of quantum mechanics. The formation of regular shapes is just far more probable than that of a shapeless lump. But the ultimate shape owes its genesis partly to an element of chance which in principle cannot be analysed further.

„In modern quantum theory there can be no doubt that the elementary particles will finally also be mathematical forms“

— 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.

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