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Werner Heisenberg

The Life of Werner Heisenberg

Owen Wagner

on 1 February 2013

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Transcript of Werner Heisenberg

Werner Heisenberg Werner Heisenberg is a renowned German Theoretical Physisist who is most well know for his creation of Quantum Mechanics Werner Heisenberg is born on the 5th of December, 1901, in Wurzburg Germany He is the son of August Heisenberg and Annie Wecklen From 1920-1923 Heisenberg studied physics and mathematics at the Maximilian University at Munich as well as at the Universtity of Gottingen He studied under many well known scientists such as Arnold Sommerfeld, a pioneer in Atomic and Quantum Physics, and Wilhelm Wien, who's theories about heat and electromagnetism lead to Wien's Displacement Law It was Arnold Sommerfeld, knowing of Heisenberg's great interest in Neils Bohr's theories on atomic physics, who took Heisenberg to the Bohr Festival in Gottingen in June 1922. Here he was able to meet Neils Bohr in person for the first time, an event that had a great impact upon Heisenberg Heisenberg received his doctorate in 1923 at the University of Munich under Sommerfeld Heisenberg's fathers high ranking potition within the university system served as a great inspiration to Heisenberg as he grew up August Heisenberg was Germany's only Ordinarius Professor of medieval and modern Greek studies in the German university system From 1924-1925 Heisenberg was able to work with Neils Bohr thanks to a International Education Board Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship Over a period of six months, Heisenberg would return to Gottingen and would work with fellow scientists Max Born and Pascual Jordan. The three of them were able to develope the matrix mechanics formulation of quantum mechanics. These successes lead Heisenberg to try use his virtual oscillator model to try and calculate spectral frequencies. But this method proved to difficult to apply to realistic problems, so Heisenberg turned to the anharmonic oscillator. The three collabarated on a paper on the scattering from atoms of radiation whose wavelength is larger than the atoms, or in simpler terms dispersion. They showed that the frequencies that occur in the Fourier transform of close classical orbits are equally spaced by proving that incoming radiation excites the valence electron to a virtual state from which it decays. Both methods led to the same results. This suggested that behind the very complicated calculations lay a consistent scheme. So Heisenberg set out to formulate these results without any dependence on the virtual oscillator model. To do this, he replaced the Fourier expansions for the spatial coordinates by matrices. He justified this replacement by an appeal to Bohr’s correspondence principle and the Pauli doctrine. Up until this time matrices had not been used by physicists because they had viewed them as being purely mathematical. The Matrix Formulation of Quantum Mechanics changed the way how physicists viewed matrices. In 1926, Heisenberg was appointed as university lecturer and assistant to Bohr It was at this time that Heisenberg, while working on the mathematical bases of Quantum Mechanics, developed the ever famous... Uncertainty Principle: It asserted a limit to the precision with which certain physical properties, x which is position and p which is momentum, can be known simultaneously. In 1927 Heisenberg was appointed Ordinarius Professor of Theoretical Physics as well as the head of the physics department at the University of Leipzig. Heisenberg's first papaer published from Leipzig used the Pauli exclusion principle to solve ferromagnetism In 1928, Albert Einstein nominated Heisenberg, Born, and Jordan for the Nobel Prize in Physics for their creation of quantum mechanics. But the announcement for the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1932 was delayed and so Heisenberg, Born, and Jordan would have to wait till 1933 to receive the prize After Adolf Hitler came into power in 1933, Heisenberg was constantly attacked by the press for being a "White Jew" The main reasons for these attacks on Heisenberg where over an attempt to appoint Heisenberg as successor to Arnold Sommerfeld at the University of Munich as well as for Heisenbergs insistance on teaching about the roles of Jewish scientists. As a result of this Heisenberg was put under investigation by the S.S. In November 1933 Heisenberg, after a very long delay, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. The reason for Heisenberg not having to share the prize with his two colleages, Born and Jordan, was because a few months before the awarding of the prize Jordan joined the Nazi party and became a Storm Trooper. It was most likely Borns close ties to Jordan that stopped him from being able to share the prize with Heisenberg. On the 29 of April 1937 Heisenberg married Elisabeth Schumacher Over the next 6 years the two of them have seven children, Maria, Wolfgang, Barbara, Christine, Jochen, Martin, and Verena. On the 1st of September, 1939, Germany and Slovakia invade Poland. Two days later, England and France declare war on Germany and World War Two Begins Heisenberg is made a key member of the German Uranium Club when he is appointed as the director-in-residence of the Kaiser-Wilhelm University of Physics in 1942, despite the constant attacks from the German newspapers. The same year Heisenberg presented a paper to many high ranking Reich officials in an attempt to gain more funding for the Uranium Club, but was mostly unsuccessful. 15 days after the start of World War Two the advisor of the HWA, Kurt Diebner, held the first meeting of the German Nuclear Program, the Uranium Club. Heisenberg was one of many German physicists who attended this meeting Heisenberg quickly became a valued member of the Uranium Club and developed many of the existing theories of particle physics and nuclear research. In 1945 the Allies started Operations Alsos and Epsilon. Its mission objective was to capture as many German nuclear physicists and exploit them to gain insight into the German Nuclear Program, which at the time was in desperate need of funding and scientists On the 3rd of May, while at his retreat in Urfeld, Heisenberg was taken capture by the leader of Operation Alsos, Colonel Boris T. Pash, and was taken to Heidelberg on the 5th of May. Two days later Germany surrenders. Despite the defeat of the Germans, it would be a full eight months until Heisenberg would ever see his family again because he was moved to England under Operation Epsilon In 1947 all detainees held by Operation Epsilon are returned to Germany. Heisenberg settles in Gottingen Shortly after his return Heisenberg is named the director of the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institute for Physics, which shortly later is renamed the Max-Planck Institute for Physics in honor of Max Planck as well as to end any objections to the continuation of the institution. There after, up until 1973, Heisenberg spent the remainder of his time traveling to many of the worlds most distinct universities in order to give lectures. He also made many advances in plasma physics and supercondutivity to name a few. On the 1st of Febraury, Heisenberg died, of kidney cancer, at his home. The evening after his colleagues and friends marched from the Max-Planck Institute of Physics to Heisenberg's home, where each placed a candle near the front door. A creation he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for. A Presentation By: Owen Wagner
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