the uncertainty principle

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principle of indeterminacy


the uncertainty principle

in order for ordinary people to understand this bit of physics the difference between the words indeterminacy and uncertainty needs to be explained

the reason why it was originally called the principle of indeterminacy was because the people who formulated Quantum theory (Bohr, Heisenberg and Born) came to realise that the reason they couldn't give a straight answer to the question "where is it?" and "what's it doing" when they looked at something sub-atomic was because the simple act of looking at a sub-atomic Quon changes its character

looking at something sub-atomic changes it from behaving like a wave and turns it into a particle

(see the act of Observation)

looking at someone who then turns and looks at you is an everyday example of the act of observation causing a reaction

(this example may have usefulness in formulating Consciousness)

it's possible to know with absolute accuracy where a sub-atomic entity is and it's possible to know with absolute certainty what something sub-atomic is doing but it's not possible to know with absolute accuracy the what and the where of sub-atomic articles at the same time

attempting to know the absolute accuracy of the where and the when of sub-atomic particles at the same time will be met with varying degrees of accuracy

the limits of accuracy to knowing the what and the where of sub-atomic particles at the same time was formulated by heisenberg using the equation in the pic at the top of the page

it's not possible to know what the sub-atomic entities are doing and where the sub-atomic particles are doing it at the same time because

"reality itself cannot answer it"

it is indeterminable

it's indeterminability is, it is thought, due to the impossibility of determining an edge of Space

the inspiration for this update occurred while formulating Infinite


the uncertainty principle is the result of asking two different questions of the same thing at the same time... "where is it?" and "what's it doing?"

(the cross-over point between the quantum world and our reality happens at a simple molecular level)

physicists wanted to know what a particle was doing while they were watching where it was doing it

look at it this way... your children are full of beans and are here, there and everywhere around the house

for safety reasons you decide to keep them in the living room

now you can see exactly what they are doing but it's not what they would be doing if they could do whatever they wanted

the same thing is happening with particles

in the laboratory, you can see precisely where a particle is but if it wasn't in a controlled environment it would be whizzing around the universe moving as a wave-form

then, while the particle is moving like a wave, you know exactly what it's doing but don't know where it's doing it

let's use language that is self-explanatory and call the uncertainty principle what it used to be called before snazzy-jazzy three-word headline-terminology became vogue... "the principle of indeterminacy"