Werner Karl Heisenberg

Werner Karl Heisenberg biography
Public Domain

Werner Karl Heisenberg biography

Werner Karl Heisenberg (December 5, 1901 – February 1, 1976) German physicist. He was born in Würzburg, Germany. Shortly before the age of five, Werner began his primary education at a school in his city. He spent three years in that school, until his father, a humanities professor specializing in the history of the Byzantine Empire, was appointed, in 1909, professor of medium and modern Greek languages ​​at the University of München and had to move. A few months later, Werner Heisenberg attended classes at the Elisabethenschule school. In 1911, he entered to study at Maximilian Gymnasium in München, where his grandfather, father of his mother Annie Wecklein, was the director.

Since he was in school he was very clear about his passions for physics, he liked to perform complex operations and read constantly. After completing his basic studies, he entered the University of Munich, where he attended the Arnold Sommerfeld classes and where he received his doctorate in 1923. Simultaneously, he was assistant to the German physicist Max Born at the University of Göttingen, a service that he provided great knowledge and a permanent psychic impulse on the part of Max Born. In 1924 until 1297 he enjoyed a well-deserved scholarship from the Rockefeller Foundation to work with the physicist Niels Bohr at the University of Copenhagen.

Thanks to the scholarship, he initiated the advancement of a quantum mechanical system, named matrix mechanics, in this system the mathematical formulation was based on the frequencies and amplitudes of the absorbed and emitted radiation by the atom and on the analysis of the energy levels of the atom. The atomic system.

“Ideas are not responsible for what men do with them.” Werner Heisenberg

Based on this system, Werner Heisenberg created in 1927 some basic formulations of quantum mechanics, baptized by him, the uncertainty or indeterminacy principle. However, the uncertainty principle caused a genuine controversy among the physicists of the time, because it took for granted the definitive disappearance of the postulate of classical certainty in physics, introducing an indeterminism that affects the foundations of matter and the material universe. In addition, this principle expresses the impossibility of carrying out perfect measurements.

For this period with the collaboration of Wolfgang Pauli, he formulated the quantum theory of wave fields. These contributions were decisive for the development of quantum mechanics since it became one of the main scientific revolutions of the 20th century. In short, he directed the scientific research of the German atomic bomb project during World War II. A short time in England was imprisoned after the end of the war.

The recognition that was acquiring little by little allowed him to play, successively, the positions of professor of theoretical physics at the University of Leipzig in 1927, director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin in 1942, the Max Planck of Göttingen in 1946 and the Institute of Munich in 1958. During this stage, thanks to his admirable work, he was wanted to give lectures in different universities of the United States, Japan, India, and Scotland, for example. In the winter of 1955, Werner Heisenberg gave lectures in Gifford at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, these lectures were subsequently published as a book.

Another of his contributions to academia and humanity was the creation of a mathematical relationship to explain the spectral lines. For this, based on the algebra of matrices, he developed the so-called matrix mechanics, which showed the wavelengths of the spectral lines, and later, Von Neumann would demonstrate that it was similar to the wave mechanics formulated by the important Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger. On the other hand, at the time he assumed the presidency of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 1953, he made a great effort to promote the policy of this Foundation, inviting scientists from other countries to Germany to provide opportunities for work and academic exchange.

He was also the author of significant contributions to fields of physics such as the study of allotropic forms of molecular hydrogen, the introduction of exchange forces, the theory of diffusion and finally the theory of ferromagnetism. Werner also left his important theories in the paper, of his written numbers, stand out: The physical principles of the quantum theory, Cosmic radiation, Physics and philosophy and Introduction to the unified theory of the elementary particles.

All the work he developed throughout his life sometimes meant being away from his family, Elisabeth Schumacher and his seven sons who resided in Munich, and also from his passion for playing the piano. All the sacrifices had a result because he positively influenced the development of physics. For that reason, he received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1932 and decades later received an honorary doctorate from the University of Brussels. Werner Karl Heisenberg died in Munich, at his home, on February 1, 1976.

Most Popular

To Top