Wacky Physics: New Uncertainty About the Uncertainty Principle
Clara Moskowitz, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 25 February 2012 Time: 10:34 AM ET
The uncertainty principle posits, for instance, that if
you make a measurement to find out the exact position of an electron
around an atom, you will only be able to get a hazy idea of how fast
Formulated by German physicist Werner Heisenberg in 1927, the rule states that the more precisely you measure a particle's position, the less precisely you will be able to determine its momentum, and vice versa.
The principle is often invoked outside the realm of physics to describe how the act of observing something changes the thing being observed, or to point out that there's a limit to how well we can ever really understand the universe.
While the subtleties of the uncertainty principle are often lost on nonphysicists, it turns out the idea is frequently misunderstood by experts, too. But a recent experiment shed new light on the maxim and led to a novel formula describing how the uncertainty principle really works.
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