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Interpreting the Quantum World

Bohr's Complementarity

     Towards the end of his career Bohr took a more interpretative role and struggled more and more with the philosophical issues of quantum mechanics First, he came up with the idea of complementarity. He noted that the wave and particle views of an object exclude each other totally but conceded that both are needed in order to fully understand the properties of the object. He suggested that the interpretation to use depends on what apparatus are used to view the object. Electrons look like particles if probed with photons, but like waves if diffracted through a crystal lattice. Bohr dragged the ideas of matrix mechanics, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, Born's probability interpretation and the idea of complementarity together into a single interpretation of quantum mechanics – dubbed The Copenhagen Interpretation.

Related Laureates

 The Nobel Prize in Physics 1922 - Niels Henrik David Bohr »  The Nobel Prize in Physics 1932 - Werner Karl Heisenberg »  The Nobel Prize in Physics 1954 - Max Born »

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