In 1927, one year after Erwin Schrödinger had stipulated that electrons behave as wave forms, Werner Heisenberg proposed that a concept in science only has meaning in terms of the experiment used to measure it and that there was always an Uncertainty within that measurement due to the act of measuring itself. Prior to the twentieth century and Quantum Mechanics, the theories of classical mechanics, wherein the theories are based upon objects of perceivable by the human eye, made it seem that if all the information in the universe about a particular object were known, then it’s future behavior could then be predicted. Known around the beginning of the twentieth century, there are certain pieces of information that must be known to be able to ‘predict’ the future behavior of the object, such as its momentum, position, and all of the four forces acting upon it: Strong force, Electromagnetic force, Weak force, and Gravitational force. Heisenberg discovered that in Quantum Mechanic states, its impossible to precisely measure the definite momentum and definite position, rendering the classical mechanical view of physics useless when analyzing subatomic events. He also stated that the imprecision wasn’t due to a researchers inability to measure the quantities, but rather that the nature of the system was such that it did not permit precise measurements of two conjugate variables, such as its momentum and position. Heisenberg saw that there was an inverse relationship between the precision of position and momentum, wherein extreme cases, absolute precision of one at an instant in time would render total imprecision of the other at that instant.
Quantum Mechanics focuses on Probabilities
When it comes to measuring subatomic events, the act of measuring actually interferes with the measurement! Heisenberg sought to have scientific data backing up his Uncertainty Principle, so he devised an experiment to test his unique hypothesis that would forever change the way Scientists and Philosophers view the universe. His experiment was aimed at measuring the position of an electron by a microscope, wherein the limitation is by the wavelength of the illuminating light. When he used gamma rays, which characteristically have the shortest wavelengths discovered at the time, he saw that the Compton effect came directly into play, stating that there was a considerable collision of at least one photon with the electron. The collision then causes a disturbance of the momentum, thus changing the position, resulting in a total disruption of the experiment due to the measuring effort that was directly related to the original purpose of the experiment. Prior to Quantum Mechanics, it was widely accepted that precision was based upon technological advances in measuring instruments, but as Schrödinger(equation) and Heisenberg proved, that assumption was false when one delved into the subatomic world. With Schrödinger’s equation coming a year prior to the Uncertainty Principle, Heisenberg and many other Scientists, reasoned that probabilities were the mathematical answers one would receive when analyzing subatomic events and that there would always be an amount of uncertainty in those results.