Über den Anschaulichen Inhalt der quantentheoretischen Kinemtaik und Mechanik. / Le berceau du temps 2014 

The Actual Content of Quantum Theoretical Kinematics and Mechanics. / The Cradle of Time  (German / French)

Werner Heisenberg and the Uncertainty Principle

In 1927 the German physicist and later Nobel Prize winner Werner Heisenberg published a paper titled The Actual Content of Quantum Theoretical Kinematics and Mechanics.11–Zeitschrift für Physik. 43, No. 3, 1927, pp. 172–198, doi:10.1007/BF01397280 In it he described and demonstrated the impossibility of measuring the location and kinetic energy of an electron with absolute certainty, as the measurement of one aspect affects the other.

This principle is known as the uncertainty principle. When it comes to studying our universe, the uncertainty principle implies that randomness is inherent to the interaction between elementary particles (atoms and their component parts). The absolute smallest unit of measurement is therefore indeterminable. Shortly after the Big Bang, the universe was in an extremely dense state and due to the density of mass the forces at the quantum scale were much stronger than all other forces. That is why, at this point in the history of the universe, the quantum effect was the decisive factor. As this effect is not comprehensible at every level, as described by Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, the initial situation shortly after the origin of the universe and at the beginning of time cannot be determined—not ever.

Alongside its primary use in quantum research, the uncertainty principle is of philosophical importance, too, because it implies that the closer you look, the less you see. It also means that the act of observation itself affects and alters the subject under observation.

Tycho Brahe and the Study of the Universe with the Naked Eye

The Danish nobleman Tycho Brahe was born one year before Giordano Bruno and died shortly after the latter was burned at the stake. He observed the stars with the aid of geometric instruments such as quadrants and armillary spheres and, although he had no telescope,22–The telescope was not invented until 1608, seven years after Brahe's death, by the Dutch spectacle-maker Hans Lipperhey. His design would be further developed by Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler. produced detailed records of the position of celestial bodies and the movement of the planets. He bequeathed his documents to his student Johannes Kepler and so enabled him to discover the elliptical orbits of the planets, which in turn provided the scientific foundation for our Copernican view of the universe.

In 1572 an extremely bright star appeared in the constellation of Cassiopeia which Brahe named Nova Stella. In reality, however, this supposedly new star was actually the light of the explosion at the end of a star's lifecycle (today called supernova in reference to Brahe's term) in which all of the material within the star is distributed in a cloud. Over the course of hundreds of millions of years, this cloud of matter, also known as nebula, will eventually converge to form one or several new stars as well as new planets.

   Copyright ©1999—2019 by Christian Waldvogel —— All works courtesy the artist —— Website 1998–2013 —— Get in touch: hochnebel(g)waldvogel.com