Facts About the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle


The Heisenberg uncertainty principle is also known as the uncertainty principle or indeterminacy principle. The principle is named after Werner Heisenberg who was a German physicist. This principle was articulated in the year 1927.

Heisenberg uncertainty principle statement

Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that the velocity and position of the particle cannot be measured all at once with complete accuracy.

Heisenberg uncertainty principle is given as below:

Δp.Δx ≥ (h/4π)

Where Δ is used for referring to the uncertainty and h is Planck’s constant.

Facts about the Heisenberg uncertainty principle

  • It is used for deriving the problems related to quantum mechanics measurements and to get the intimate connection between the wave and the particle.
  • As the wave function is restricted to a smaller region, the change in velocity of the particle cannot be defined.
  • The mathematical form of the uncertainty principle is related to the Planck’s constant complementary.

What is the importance of the uncertainty principle in everyday life?

There are two main implications of the uncertainty principle in everyday life after Niels Bohr. There are two main ways where the principle establishes its importance in everyday life:

  1. The observables are independent of the observer.
  2. The ideas related to classical physics are uniquely connected to the causal laws.

How did quantum theory develop?

Following are the ways in which quantum theory got developed:

  • Assumptions were made by Planck that energy was made of individuals quanta.
  • According to Albert Einstein, not just energy but radiation was also quantized.

Problem on Heisenberg uncertainty principle

Q1. The uncertainty in the momentum Δp of a basketball thrown by Neel is travelling at a speed of 40 m.s-1 is given as 1×10-6 as the momentum. What will be the uncertainty in the position Δx with a mass of 0.40 kg?

Ans: We know that,

p = m.v

= (0.40kg)(40m.s-1)

=16 kg.m.s-1

Δp = p(1×10-6)

= (16 kg.m.s-1)(1×10-6)

Δp.Δx ≥ (h/4π)

Δx ≥ (h/4π.Δp)

Substituting the values we get,

≥ 3.3×10-30m

Interested to learn more about other concepts of Physics like reactivity series, inelastic collision, types of energy, types of waves etc, stay tuned with BYJU’S.

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