# Definitions for **uncertainty principle**

### This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word **uncertainty principle**

### Random House Webster's College Dictionary

uncer′tainty prin`ciple(n.)

the quantum-mechanical principle, formulated by Heisenberg, that measuring either of two related quantities, as position and momentum or energy and time, produces uncertainty in measurement of the other.

**Category:**Physics

#### Origin of **uncertainty principle**:

1930–35

### Princeton's WordNet

uncertainty principle, indeterminacy principle(noun)

(quantum theory) the theory that it is impossible to measure both energy and time (or position and momentum) completely accurately at the same time

### Wiktionary

uncertainty principle(Noun)

Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

### Freebase

Uncertainty principle

In quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle is any of a variety of mathematical inequalities asserting a fundamental limit to the precision with which certain pairs of physical properties of a particle known as complementary variables, such as position x and momentum p, can be known simultaneously. For instance, the more precisely the position of some particle is determined, the less precisely its momentum can be known, and vice versa. The original heuristic argument that such a limit should exist was given by Werner Heisenberg in 1927, after whom it is sometimes named the Heisenberg principle. A more formal inequality relating the standard deviation of position σx and the standard deviation of momentum σp was derived by Earle Hesse Kennard later that year, where ħ is the reduced Planck constant. Historically, the uncertainty principle has been confused with a somewhat similar effect in physics, called the observer effect, which notes that measurements of certain systems cannot be made without affecting the systems. Heisenberg offered such an observer effect at the quantum level as a physical "explanation" of quantum uncertainty. It has since become clear, however, that the uncertainty principle is inherent in the properties of all wave-like systems, and that it arises in quantum mechanics simply due to the matter wave nature of all quantum objects. Thus, the uncertainty principle actually states a fundamental property of quantum systems, and is not a statement about the observational success of current technology. It must be emphasized that measurement does not mean only a process in which a physicist-observer takes part, but rather any interaction between classical and quantum objects regardless of any observer.

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