Visualizing Heisenberg Uncertainty Equation


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Kyung_Jin_Kim_1H
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:00 am

Visualizing Heisenberg Uncertainty Equation

Postby Kyung_Jin_Kim_1H » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:23 am

While I understand while reading that the position and momentum of a small object cannot be known simultaneously, I have a hard time visualizing this because the concept is so foreign in the sense that the objects we interact with daily are large enough to determine both position and momentum. Is there an easier way to conceptualize the uncertainty equation?

Madelyn Gehrich 1E
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Re: Visualizing Heisenberg Uncertainty Equation

Postby Madelyn Gehrich 1E » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:25 pm

I think instead of conceptualizing it with everyday objects (because those do not move nearly as fast and are not nearly as small), it is useful to try and picture it using the subatomic particles. Say that you are trying to analyze an electron under a microscope (not an easy task). When you are trying to measure the electron or its position, you need light to do so. The photons from the light in the microscope will bounce off of the electron, and thus when you see the electron though the microscope after the light has hit it, the photon may have imparted some momentum on it that it did not previously have before the light hit it. We now might see its new position but are unsure of its true momentum. Similarly, the light may hit it and the momentum causes the object to move, so we see the momentum shift but now know less about the electron's position. It is a difficult concept to understand in the real world because things don't move that quickly with larger objects, but when you reduce it down to the atomic level it may be easier to conceptualize if you imagine yourself trying to analyze one of these subatomic particles under a microscope and measure its properties.


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