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Yay Uncertainty!!


lindsh23

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As I discussed in my last post, the Observer Effect remains a frequently pondered and strange phenomenon of quantum mechanics. However, people have often mixed up the observer effect with the Uncertainty Principle, a different but related quantum physics concept.

The Uncertainty Principle, developed by Werner Heisenberg, states that the more precisely the position of a particle is known, the less precisely its momentum is known (and vice versa). This happens because when the wavefunction of any particle (refer to gravitational wave post: EVERYTHING IS A WAVE!!) is expressed in these units, position and momentum become conjugate variables of each other. Wow... a lot of complicated jargon.

Let's try to get through this:

Every particle is also a wave, as stated in de Broglies theorem, and can be expressed by a wave function (x,t). A probability density function is used to find a ballpark range of a location with the integral of the wave function. This probability is very slim, since the wave packet, or probable location of the particle, is large compared to the size of the particle. However, this can also be written as a summation of all of these wave functions in the nearby area, making the position of said particle localized due the multitude of waves. However, while the position is becoming more localized, the momentum is proportionally becoming more delocalized, with this massive sum of waves having a plethora of momenta. This is the basis of the uncertainty principle.

As both the uncertainty principle and the observer effect have shown, quantum mechanics is incredibly abstract and intricate, and I hope you have seen a bit into the uncharted territory of quantum mechanics! Until next time, Fizzix community, until next time.

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