In 1927, Werner Heisenberg reasoned that scientists couldn’t take a measurement of a physical object without changing it in some way. The idea, which has persisted in physics, was based on intuition and has implications for quantum cryptography.
Now, Paul Busch of the University of York and his colleagues have developed a more precise mathematical description of Heisenberg’s idea, which laid out a reciprocal relationship between the accuracy of a position measurement of an object and the associated disturbance in the object’s momentum.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.