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Questions tagged [heisenberg-uncertainty-principle]

This tag is for Heisenberg's quantum mechanical uncertainty principle. DO NOT USE THIS TAG for uncertainty in a non-quantum measurement.

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86
votes
8answers
27k views

What is $\Delta t$ in the time-energy uncertainty principle?

In non-relativistic QM, the $\Delta E$ in the time-energy uncertainty principle is the limiting standard deviation of the set of energy measurements of $n$ identically prepared systems as $n$ goes to ...
33
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7answers
5k views

Isn't the uncertainty principle just non-fundamental limitations in our current technology that could be removed in a more advanced civilization?

From what I understand, the uncertainty principle states that there is a fundamental natural limit to how accurately we can measure velocity and momentum at the same time. It's not a limit on ...
58
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9answers
5k views

Is the uncertainty principle a property of elementary particles or a result of our measurement tools?

In many physics divulgation books I've read, this seems to be a commonly accepted point of view (I'm making this quote up, as I don't remember the exact words, but this should give you an idea): ...
21
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2answers
2k views

Is the uncertainty principle just saying something about what an observer can know or is it a fundamental property of nature?

I ask this question because I have read two different quotes on the uncertainty principle that don't seem to match very well. There are similar questions around here but I would like an explanation ...
90
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10answers
19k views

Can we theoretically balance a perfectly symmetrical pencil on its one-atom tip?

I was asked by an undergrad student about this question. I think if we were to take away air molecules around the pencil and cool it to absolute zero, that pencil would theoretically balance. Am I ...
8
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4answers
25k views

Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle scientific proof

Heisenberg's uncertainty principle states that: $$\sigma(x)\sigma( p_x )\ge \frac {\hbar}{2}.$$ What is the scientific proof of this principle? Operators Uncertainty
12
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3answers
14k views

Factor 2 in Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle: Which formula is correct?

Some websites and textbooks refer to $$\Delta x \Delta p \geq \frac{\hbar}{2}$$ as the correct formula for the uncertainty principle whereas other sources use the formula $$\Delta x \Delta p \geq \...
33
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4answers
9k views

How does non-commutativity lead to uncertainty?

I read that the non-commutativity of the quantum operators leads to the uncertainty principle. What I don't understand is how both things hang together. Is it that when you measure one thing first ...
16
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2answers
2k views

Virtual particles and physical laws

Recently, I was reading about Hawking Radiation in A Brief History of Time. It says that at no point can all the fields be zero and so there's nothing like empty space(quantum fluctuation etc.). Now, ...
15
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3answers
1k views

How can I solve this quantum mechanical “paradox”?

Let a (free) particle move in $[0,a]$ with cyclic boundary condition $\psi(0)=\psi(a)$. The solution of the Schrödinger-equation can be put in the form of a plane wave. In this state the standard ...
7
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3answers
1k views

Uncertainty principle and measurement

I would like to really understand how the uncertainty principle in QM works, from a practical point of view. So this is my narrative of how an experiment goes, and I'm quickly in trouble: we prepare ...
7
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1answer
1k views

Energy conservation of Virtual Particles - Quantum Fluctuation?

I (as a middle-school student) was wondering how virtual particles even conserve energy of the entire system? I don't mean just the particle's energy, but conservation with respect to the surroundings?...
3
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2answers
5k views

Absolute zero and Heisenberg uncertainty principle

I got to read Volume I of Feynmann's lectures. It said that at absolute zero, molecular motion doesn't cease at all, because if that happens, we will be able to make precise determination of position ...
31
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6answers
6k views

What constitutes an observation/measurement in QM?

Fundamental notions of QM have to do with observation, a major example being The Uncertainty Principle. What is the technical definition of an observation/measurement? If I look at a QM system, it ...
15
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3answers
4k views

The Planck constant $\hbar$, the angular momentum, and the action

Is there anything interesting to say about the fact that the Planck constant $\hbar$, the angular momentum, and the action have the same units or is it a pure coincidence?
2
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1answer
577 views

Heisenberg relation

Given that $A(k)=\frac{N}{k^2+\alpha^2}$, show that $\Delta k \Delta x >1$. Considering the above example, according to my textbook, it is written that I must square the above function and ...
30
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7answers
4k views

Is there something behind non-commuting observables?

Consider a quantum system described by the Hilbert space $\mathcal{H}$ and consider $A,B\in \mathcal{L}(\mathcal{H},\mathcal{H})$ to be observables. If those observables do not commute there's no ...
7
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3answers
9k views

Energy conservation limited by uncertainty principle

The way I learned it from practicing Fourier analysis and signal processing besides quantum mechanics, is that Energy conservation cannot be achieved in short time scales, and that limits energy ...
6
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1answer
2k views

What physical significance has the Heisenberg Group?

I read that the canonical commutation relation between momentum and position can be seen as the Lie Algebra of the Heisenberg group. While I get why the commutation relations of momentum and momentum, ...
18
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2answers
4k views

Meaning of the anti-commutator term in the uncertainty principle

What is the meaning, mathematical or physical, of the anti-commutator term? $$\langle ( \Delta A )^{2} \rangle \langle ( \Delta B )^{2} \rangle \geq \dfrac{1}{4} \vert \langle [ A,B ] \rangle \vert^{2}...
6
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4answers
2k views

Is uncertainty principle a technical difficulty in measurement? [duplicate]

Is the uncertainty principle a technical difficulty in measurement or is it an intrinsic concept in quantum mechanics irrelevant of any measurement? Everyone knows the thought experiment of measuring ...
10
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4answers
1k views

Is it possible for $\Delta x$ ($\sigma_x$) of any free particle wave packet to be decreasing at any time?

Consider any wave packet describing a free particle (so no potential or other forces acting on it). Then it can be shown that $\Delta p$ does not change in time. However, my question is what happens ...
104
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17answers
16k views

Can the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle be explained intuitively?

I have heard several pseudoscientific explanations about the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and find them hard to believe. As a mathematician mainly focusing on functional analysis, I have a ...
27
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3answers
4k views

Is there an actual proof for the energy-time Uncertainty Principle?

As I understand, the energy-time uncertainty principle can't be derived from the generalized uncertainty relation. This is because time is a dynamical variable and not an observable in the same sense ...
11
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6answers
2k views

Will Determinism be ever possible?

What are the main problems that we need to solve to prove Laplace's determinism correct and overcome the Uncertainty principle?
6
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2answers
1k views

Uncertainty principle in quantum field theory

Can the uncertainty principle be derived in quantum field theory? If yes, does is have a different interpretation than quantum mechanics because the coordinates $x_i$ are now parameters and not ...
1
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4answers
3k views

Why is the Bohr's idea of defined circular orbits overruled?

If we consider a thought experiment for determining position of an electron by using photons of light. According to principles of optics, if we use light of wavelength $\lambda$, then the position of ...
25
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3answers
15k views

What is the decay width and why is it given in energy units?

I'm reading Thomson, Modern Particle Physics, and in chapter 16 author says that the decay width of the Z boson is $\Gamma_Z =2.452 \pm 0.0023 \,\mathrm{GeV}$. He also says the total width of the ...
19
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4answers
2k views

Why doesn't the phase operator exist?

In many articles about quantum optics, the phase-number uncertainty relation $$\Delta \phi \Delta n \ge 1$$ has been mentioned and used as a heuristic argument, but they say that the phase-number ...
18
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4answers
11k views

Does the uncertainty principle apply to photons?

Wikipedia claims the following: More generally, the normal concept of a Schrödinger probability wave function cannot be applied to photons. Being massless, they cannot be localized without being ...
8
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2answers
981 views

Why don't quantum effects invalidate the speed of light barrier?

While proving that no matter can reach the speed of light (a fact which I call the kinetic energy barrier), Einstein uses the fact that he can calculate the velocity and position of an electron. ...
18
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1answer
2k views

Is the Uncertainty Principle valid for information about the past?

My layman understanding of the Uncertainty Principle is that you can't determine the both the position and momentum of a particle at the same point in time, because measuring one variable changes the ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is quantum uncertainty principle related to thermodynamics?

Would like to ask a question, but first i would like to say Hello Everybody in a way that plays the system, since some geniouses decided that one should not be able to say hello in a question. The ...
5
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3answers
1k views

Didn't we mess up with the temperature?

The following passage has been extracted from the book "The Feynman Lectures on Physics-Vol l": The mean kinetic energy is a property only of the "temperature." Being a property of the "...
3
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3answers
882 views

Uncertainty principle and multiple observers

My understanding is that an observer can measure the precise location of a particle so long as the corresponding uncertainty in momentum measurement is not an issue and vice-versa. Say there is ...
11
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13answers
5k views

Could the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle turn out to be false?

While investigating the EPR Paradox, it seems like only two options are given, when there could be a third that is not mentioned - Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle being given up. The setup is this ...
23
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8answers
5k views

Why do quantum physical properties come in pairs?

Why do quantum physical properties come in pairs, governed by the uncertainty principle (that is, position and momentum?) Why not in groups of three, four, etc.?
9
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1answer
4k views

Phase space in quantum mechanics and Heisenberg uncertainty principle

In my book about quantum mechanics they give a derivation that for one particle an area of $h$ in $2D$ phase space contains exactly one quantum mechanical state. In my book about statistical physics ...
15
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5answers
5k views

Can momentum have a complex expectation value?

I'm making examples of wave functions to incorporate in a QM exam. I came up with the following wave function, which gives me some troubles: $$\psi(x,0) = \begin{cases} A(a-x), & -a \leq x \leq a\...
8
votes
4answers
792 views

An electron falling into a black hole

If an electron falls into a black hole. How can the Heisenberg uncertainty principle hold? The electron has fallen into the singularity now so it has a well defined position which means that it doesn'...
7
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7answers
3k views

Why is Heisenberg's uncertainty principle not an experimental error since it is the error created by photons striking on elementary particles? [duplicate]

Why is Heisenberg's uncertainty principle not an experimental error since it is the error created by photons striking on elementary particles?
7
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2answers
2k views

Reason for Uncertainty principle

$$\Delta x \Delta p_x \geq \frac{\hbar}{2} $$ I understand what does Heisenberg's uncertainty principle states i.e. it's definition and it has been proven experimentally. But, can anyone please ...
3
votes
2answers
672 views

Why uncertainity is minimum for coherent states?

While reading for quantum damped harmonic oscillator, I came across coherent states, and I asked my prof about them and he said me it is the state at which $\Delta x\Delta y$ is minimum. I didn't ...
4
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0answers
193 views

Quantum mechanics,and how the law $ΔxΔp≥ℏ/2$ explains the paradox regarding atoms [duplicate]

In Chapter 2-3,Vol I of the Feynman lectures, Feynman talks about a rule in quantum mechanics that says that one cannot know both where something is and how fast it is moving. That the uncertainty of ...
0
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3answers
1k views

Do black holes violate the uncertainty principle?

If black holes have mass but no size, does that imply zero uncertainty in position? If so, what does that imply for uncertainty in momentum?
2
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3answers
2k views

Observation of violation of the uncertainty principle?

I stumbled upon this piece of news in the BBC's website here, discussing this paper Violation of Heisenberg’s Measurement-Disturbance Relationship by Weak Measurements What does this mean? The ...
2
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3answers
645 views

What is the meaning of natural line broadening?

I have recently found one exercise in an exercise book: During the transition from the first excited state of a hydrogen atom into the ground state, photons with a wavelength of 121.5 nm are ...
0
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2answers
1k views

is there any uncertainty on the free particle with a definite momentum $\vec p$?

The probability amplitude for a free particle with momentum $\ p$ and energy $E$ is the complex wave function: $$\psi_{(\vec x , t)}=e^{i(\vec k\cdot \vec x -\omega t)}$$ is there any uncertainty on ...
0
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2answers
5k views

How to derive Uncertainty Principle relation?

How to derive Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle relation?
41
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6answers
5k views

Does Heisenberg's uncertainty under time evolution always grow?

Recently there have been some interesting questions on standard QM and especially on uncertainty principle and I enjoyed reviewing these basic concepts. And I came to realize I have an interesting ...