How Certain is Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle?

David Atkinson*, Jeanne Peijnenburg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
249 Downloads (Pure)


Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is a milestone of twentieth-century physics. We sketch the history that led to the formulation of the principle, and we recall the objections of Grete Hermann and Niels Bohr. Then we explain that there are in fact two uncertainty principles. One was published by Heisenberg in the Zeitschrift für Physik of March 1927 and subsequently targeted by Bohr and Hermann. The other one was introduced by Earle Kennard in the same journal a couple of months later. While Kennard’s principle remains untarnished, the principle of Heisenberg has recently been criticized in a way that is very different from the objections by Bohr and Hermann: there are reasons to believe that Heisenberg’s formula is not valid. Experimental results seem to support this claim.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalHOPOS: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science
Issue number1
Early online date8-Feb-2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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