Werner Heisenberg

Country: Germany
Years of work: 1927-1932


Heisenberg went to the Maximilian school at Munich until 1920, when he went to the University of Munich to study physics. In 1923 he took his Ph.D. at the University of Munich. In 1926 he was appointed Lecturer in Theoretical Physics at the University of Copenhagen under Niels Bohr and in 1927 he was appointed Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Leipzig. In 1929 he went on a lecture tour to the United States, Japan, and India. In 1941 he was appointed Professor of Physics at the University of Berlin and Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics there. At the end of the Second World War he, and other German physicists, were taken prisoner by American troops fort being Nazis and sent to England, but in 1946 he returned to Germany and reorganized, with his colleagues, the Institute for Physics at Göttingen. In 1958 he was appointed Professor of Physics in the University of Munich.

Heisenberg is known for many things in modern science, but in regards to the structure of the atom his most important contribution was his Uncertainty principal. In laymens terms this states that the more we know about the position of a particle, the less we know about the velocity (IE speed and direction) of said particle. This is one of the corner stones of quantum physics, and is also the principal at work within the electron cloud distributions of all atoms. Because the electron is a subatomic particle moving just below the speed of light, there is no way to accuratly show the position of the electron in its orbit, only a general distribution of where the electron might be.