uncertainty principle | |
—n | |
Heisenberg uncertainty principle, Also known as: indeterminacy principle the principle that energy and time or position and momentum of a quantum mechanical system, cannot both be accurately measured simultaneously. The product of their uncertainties is always greater than or of the order of h, where h is the Planck constant |
uncertainty principle (ŭn-sûr'tn-tē) Pronunciation Key
A principle, especially as formulated in quantum mechanics, that greater accuracy of measurement for one observable entails less accuracy of measurement for another. For example, it is in principle impossible to measure both the momentum and the position of a particle at the same time with perfect accuracy. Any pair of observables whose operators do not commute have this property. As defined in quantum mechanics, it is also called Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Similar uncertainty principles hold for non-quantum mechanical systems involving waves as well. |
The statement in quantum mechanics, formulated by Werner Heisenberg, that it is impossible to measure two properties of a quantum object, such as its position and momentum (or energy and time), simultaneously with infinite precision.