Werner Heisenberg


Werner Karl Heisenberg

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.

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