n these times of rapid change, when the pace of invention approaches or even exceeds our abilities to adapt, the human species finds itself faced with ever increasing uncertainty. "Who am I?" "Where am I going?" "What is my purpose?" "Who will walk beside me?" As anxieties mount, we, both as individuals and as a society, must confront our uncertainties. Bring them out into the cold bright light of ignorance, and shout to the heavens, "I DON'T KNOW!" It is by this alone that we may clear out the cobwebs of panic from our id and cast the boat of our superego onto the waves, secure in the knowledge that, while the weather and wave is uncertain, the boat is sturdy, and with our best effort we will not be drowned. Our psyches yearn for the...
Hold it. Hold it! Stop right there! "The Page of Uncertainty" has nothing to do with any of this. This page, and those attached to it, are dedicated to that enigmatic scientific law, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. The uncertainty principle stands as one of those rare scientific discoveries, along with evolution and the theory of relativity, that have had nearly as great an impact in popular culture as they have had among scientists. It is often invoked metaphorically by people who know very little about it.
Well here's your chance to know something about it. Spend a little thoughtful time at "The Page of Uncertainty", and if I've done the job I've set out to do, your skull will be full of some of the most mind-blowing concepts ever to be experimentally verified. Welcome to the world of quantum physics!
The elements of the uncertainty principle
Wave-particle duality: light
Wave-particle duality: electrons
The meaning of the wave
From many waves, one
The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
The Copenhagen interpretation
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A brief note about Dave's educational web pages.
"The Page of Uncertainty" is presented with the assistance of Morningside College. It was posted to the web in 1997 and has been slightly modified on several occasions since then.