FIRST EDITION, FIRST PRINTING of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, one of the most significant discoveries in all of modern physics and “one of the most famous and important aspects of quantum mechanics,” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). From the moment of publication, the Uncertainty Principle marked the end to deterministic theories of physics and since, has played a critical role in any and all scientific theories or technologies that follow from quantum mechanics.
In its simplest form, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, or quantum mechanical principle, states that it is not possible to simultaneously determine the position and momentum of a particle. Moreover, “the more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa” (“Uber den anschaulichen,” 1927). This principle applies even to particles that are not interacting with other systems, in other words, that are NOT being "observed."
Heisenberg’s discoveries punctured the firmly held belief that the universe and everything in it operates like clockwork. To predict the workings of the "clock," one needs to measure its qualities and parts at a specific point in time. Classical physics assumed that the precision of measuring is theoretically unlimited. But Heisenberg stated that since you could never with great certainty measure more than one property of a particle, you could only work with probability and mathematical formulations. This was “the first paper in which the question of what is observable and what is not is quantitatively discussed in the context of quantum mechanics” (Pais, Niels Bohr’s Times, 304).
The implications of Heisenberg’s efforts were extraordinary and in 1932 he received the Nobel Prize.
ALSO INCLUDES: Wolfgang Pauli's matrices; Wigner's D-matrix; Skobeltsyn on cosmic ray showers. Item #1442
CONDITION & DETAILS: 4to. (9.25 x 6.25 inches; 231 x 156mm). [vii], 936pp. Stamps on title page and at the foot of the index. Handsomely rebound in black cloth, gilt-lettered and -ruled at the spine. Marbled text block. All else exceptionally clean and bright inside and out. Near fine.