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Werner Heisenberg

Werner HeisenbergAKA Werner Karl Heisenberg

Born: 5-Dec-1901
Birthplace: Würzburg, Germany
Died: 1-Feb-1976
Location of death: Munich, Germany
Cause of death: Cancer - Kidney
Remains: Buried, Waldfriedhof, Munich, Germany

Gender: Male
Religion: Lutheran
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: Germany
Executive summary: Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

German physicist Werner Heisenberg studied under Max Born, David Hilbert, and Arnold Sommerfeld, and won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1932. His 1925 theory of quantum mechanics offered a matrix method to explain stationary discrete energy states, and was soon superseded by Erwin Schrödinger's more intuitive wave equation. Of more lasting impact was his 1927 uncertainty principle, which states that it is impossible to accurately measure both position and momentum (energy and time) concurrently, and that the more precisely we know an object's position the less precisely we can know its momentum, and vice versa.

In 1932 he explained the principle of isotopic spin (isospin), a quantum number which arises from regarding different members of a charge multiplet as different states of a single particle. During World War II he led Germany's failed efforts to develop an atomic bomb, though his group never came close to achieving this goal and Heisenberg himself doubted it was possible. After the war he was briefly imprisoned in England, before resuming his academic work in Germany. His other areas of research included cosmic rays, ferromagnetism, the hydrodynamics of turbulent flows, and subatomic particles. He was a co-founder of the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN).

Father: Kaspar Ernst August Heisenberg (teacher, b. 13-Nov-1869, d. 22-Nov-1930)
Mother: Annie Wecklein (b. 22-Sep-1871, m. 23-May-1999, d. 1945)
Brother: Erwin Heisenberg (chemist, b. 1900, d. 1965)
Wife: Elisabeth Schumacher (b. 4-Jul-1914, m. 29-Apr-1937, d. 27-Feb-1998, seven children)
Daughter: Anna‎ Maria Heisenberg (b. Jan-1938 twin)
Son: Wolfgang Heisenberg (b. Jan-1938, d. 1994 twin)
Son: Jochen Heisenberg (nuclear physicist, b. 1939)
Son: Martin Heisenberg (neurobiologist, b. 7-Aug-1940)
Daughter: Barbara Heisenberg (b. Nov-1942)
Daughter: Christine Heisenberg Mann
Daughter: Verena Heisenberg

    High School: Maximilians Gymnasium, Munich, Germany
    University: University of Munich
    University: PhD Physics, University of Munich (1923)
    Teacher: Physics, University of Göttingen (1923-25)
    Teacher: Physics, University of Copenhagen (1924-27)
    Professor: Theoretical Physics, University of Leipzig (1927-41)
    Professor: Physics, University of Berlin (1941-46)
    Administrator: Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics, University of Berlin (1941-46)
    Professor: Physics, University of Göttingen (1946-58)
    Administrator: Max Planck Institute for Physics, University of Göttingen (1946-58)
    Scholar: Gifford Lectures, University of St. Andrews, Scotland (1955-56)
    Professor: Physics, University of Munich (1958-70)
    Administrator: Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics, University of Munich (1958-70)

    Nobel Prize for Physics 1932
    Matteucci Medal 1929
    Order of Merit
    Romano Guardini Prize 1973
    Grand Cross for Federal Services with Star
    Accademia dei Lincei
    Alexander von Humboldt Foundation President (1953)
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    Pontifical Academy of Sciences
    Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences
    Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
    Royal Society 1955 (Foreign Member)
    Taken Prisoner of War 1945-46 (Farm Hill Prison, near Cambridge, England)
    Asteroid Namesake 13149 Heisenberg
    Bavarian Ancestry
    German Ancestry

Author of books:
Philosophic Problems of Nuclear Science (1952, non-fiction)
The physicist's conception of nature (1958, non-fiction)
Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science (1962, non-fiction)
Physics and Beyond (1971, non-fiction)
The Physical Principles of Quantum Theory (1928, non-fiction)
Introduction to the Unified Field Theory of Elementary Particles (1966, non-fiction)
Encounters with Einstein, and Other Essays on People, Places, and Particles (1983, memoir; posthumous)

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