Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
Werner Karl Heisenberg
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1932
Born: 5 December 1901, Würzburg, Germany
Died: 1 February 1976, Munich, West Germany (now Germany)
Affiliation at the time of the award: Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany
Prize motivation: "for the creation of quantum mechanics, the application of which has, inter alia, led to the discovery of the allotropic forms of hydrogen."
Werner Heisenberg received his Nobel Prize one year later, in 1933.
Prize share: 1/1
In Niels Bohr's theory of the atom, electrons absorb and emit radiation of fixed wavelengths when jumping between fixed orbits around a nucleus. The theory provided a good description of the spectrum created by the hydrogen atom, but needed to be developed to suit more complicated atoms and molecules. In 1925, Werner Heisenberg formulated a type of quantum mechanics based on matrices. In 1927 he proposed the "uncertainty relation", setting limits for how precisely the position and velocity of a particle can be simultaneously determined.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.