This video claims (scroll to 11:22 frame), that inventors/improvers of a unique attosecond pulse generation which enables us to monitor atom dynamics proved that Heisenberg was wrong (citation from video) :

"who previously believed that we could not see the world of electrons".

Now, I have tried to lookup original info to what a similar thing Heisenberg could have been said in reality. This, Physics history reference says that Heisenberg has said that (citation) :

Heisenberg objected to the current model because he claimed that since one couldn’t actually observe the orbit of electrons around a nucleus, such orbits couldn’t really be said to exist. One could only observe the spectrum of light emitted or absorbed by atoms.

Could it be what Heisenberg had in mind is that Bohr atom model is invalid/imprecise, due to inability of technology at that time to verify strict "Bohr atom" orbitals ?

Or does he had in mind that atom orbitals couldn't be pictured even in principle ? In this case that should somehow follow from uncertainty principle, but I don't see that. In orbitals pictures we can only observe approximate electron distribution around nuclei,- "possible locations of electron(s)" so to say. But these pictures don't reveal the information at what velocity or momentum electron was traveling in this or that orbital place. Hell, I believe that we can't even say in what particular orbital exact electron is currently in at the time moment $t$ ! So it feels like uncertainty principle should be respected.

So, does really video claim is correct or (as usual) it's some sort of misinterpretation or exaggeration of scientists words ?

  • $\begingroup$ And the down-vote is for ? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 29, 2023 at 18:08
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    $\begingroup$ Probably because the quoted sentence is vague enough to be discrediting on its face. It's very unlikely that "proving Heisenberg wrong", if that's what happened, would go unmentioned in all of the more reliable sources that discuss Nobel prize winning discoveries. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 29, 2023 at 18:37
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    $\begingroup$ I think the other issue here is the rule that questions should be able to stand alone and your question seems to depend on a video that could disappear in the future. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 29, 2023 at 20:19
  • $\begingroup$ @StephenG-HelpUkraine But I have seen a lot of questions commenting videos, this question is no different. If video will disappear,- I've added a quote from the video, so question essence will be left intact (of course just source will be missing). $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 29, 2023 at 21:09
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    $\begingroup$ My sense is your “could it be…?” question is answerable in the affirmative; not a UP type restriction of principle…. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 2:26

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This is a "by invitation" answer, even though I really don't understand the question. There are no principles questioned here, least of all the UP, of course. Any and all physics is in the neat linked answer on ultrafast spectroscopy, in triumphant and complete agreement with QM.

Dragging Heisenberg into all this is misleading name-dropping on the part of your video editor, somehow hinting that early QM ("Heisenberg") was conceptually lacking; which is irredeemably false!

Conceivably, with modern attosecond pulse technology one could have confirmed a century earlier that there are no Bohr orbits, but QM orbitals instead, as discovered in Heisenberg's inspired QM model for the atomic "black box".

Heisenberg simply did not expect attosecond periods for nm wavelengths to be technologically resolvable. But, taking his name in vain is akin to saying "Faraday was proven wrong" if he had been complacent and frivolously excluded human flight in the 19th century, (not likely... he was a technology geek).

So, your point that orbitals are possible to probe through ultrafast spectroscopy if only somebody envisioned it sounds right and would have delighted Heisenberg, not disappointed him, as his black box would be less black, albeit accessible through scattering experiments.

(On the social commentary side, you surely have endured unscrupulous popular science popycock over the years of the "Was Einstein wrong?" type....)

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    $\begingroup$ Nice analysis :-) In addition, I would rather say that Heisenberg was 100% right (instead of "wrong"), because now we have thousands of experiments which proves that atom orbitals are fuzzy and more "QM like" which corresponds to probabilistic electron wave function. Hence, indeed "Bohr style" atom strict orbital boundaries does not exist, which was Heisenberg's point of his above mentioned comment in my post. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 31, 2023 at 10:12

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