37 years ago today, the world lost one of its greatest minds.
Werner Karl Heisenberg (5 December 1901 – 1 February 1976) was a German theoretical physicist, Nobel Laureate (1932) and total badass. Along with Max Born and Pascual Jordan, he developed the matrix formulation of quantum mechanics in 1925 - one of the most important advancements in the history of physics. However, in 1927 he published an equally, if not more, influential concept - the uncertainty principle, which asserts that there is a fundamental limit to the precision with certain pairs of physical properties of any given particle may be known, most famously momentum and position. Essentially, the more precisely one of the pairs is known - the less so for the other.
But Heisenberg’s genius didn’t stop here, he also made influential contributions to the theories of the atomic nucleus, ferromagnetism and was a key member of the development of the first West German nuclear reactor. Following his controversial nuclear research during World War II, he was appointed director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics, which was soon thereafter renamed the Max Planck Institute for Physics.
“Natural science, does not simply describe and explain nature; it is part of the interplay between nature and ourselves.” - Werner Heisenberg