Werner Heisenberg

  • The birth of Werner Heisenberg

    Werner Heisenberg was born on this day in Würzburg, Germany, to Kaspar Ernst Heisenberg, and his wife Annie Wecklein.
  • University Life

    From 1920 to 1923, Heisenberg studied physics and mathematics at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich under Arnold Sommerfeld and Wihelm Wien and at the Georg-August University of Göttingen with Max Born nd James Franck and mathematics with David Hilbert.
  • Heisenberg's Doctorate

    Heisenberg received his doctorate at Munich under Sommerfeld. The topic of his doctoral thesis was on turbulence, which was suggested by Sommerfeld. At the time, Heisenberg did not specialize in atomic theory, instead focusing on alternating vortices in fluids called Kármán vortices. He did spend six months at Max Born's institute in Gottingen before he finished his studies. This is where Heisenberg and Born collaborated on the theory of the helium atom.
  • Heisenberg Studies Atomic Theory

    Heisenberg was invited by Bohr to become his research assistant in Copenhagen. Heisenberg's research focused primarily on the quantum theory of radiation.
  • Nobel Prize in Physics

    In 1928,Albert Einstein nominated Heisenberg, Born, and Jordan for the Novel Prize in Physics. The announcement of the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1932 was delayed until November 1933. At that time it was announced that Heisenberg won the Prize for 1932 "for the creation of quantum mechanics, the application of which has, inter alia, led to the discovery of the allotropic forms of hydrogen".
  • Max-Planck-Medaille

    The German Physical Society, the worlds largest organization of physicists, awarded Heisenberg the Max-Planck-Medaille for extraordinary achievements in theoretical physics.
  • The War Years

    Heisenberg, together with other nuclear scientist, who called themselves the Uranium Club, begin investigating the possible wartime uses of Hahn's discovery of nuclear fission. The uses included nuclear reactors for submarine propulsion and of course the atomic bomb.
  • The Failure of the Uranium Club

    There is some controversy over whether or not Heisenberg and his companions either failed to understand nuclear physics well enough to successfully make a bomb, or, as Heisenberg contended, simply stalled long enough that the completion of the bomb would have made no difference in the war effort. To this day, historians of physics and physicists debate Heisenberg's motivation and role in this effort.
  • Heisenberg's Autobiography

    Heisenberg was in his late sixties when he published his autobiography for the mass market in 1969, in German. It was published in English in 1971 and a string of other languages in the years after. The book became a popular success, but considered troublesome by historians of science. Heisenberg wrote in the preface that he had abridged historical events, to make them more concise. Critics accused him of insinuating opinions while evading responsibility for his role in them.
  • The Death of Werner Heisenberg

    Heisenberg died of kidney cancer at his home and the next evening, his friends and colleagues walked in remembrance from the Institute of Physics to his home.
    YouTube link about the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle: