When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity ? And why turbulence ? I really believe he will have an answer for the first.

— Werner Heisenberg

The most proven Werner Heisenberg quotes that may be undiscovered and unusual

What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.


Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.


After the conversations about Indian philosophy, some of the ideas of Quantum Physics that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense.


[T]he atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real;

they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.


"Uncertainty" is NOT "I don't know." It is "I can't know." "I am uncertain" does not mean "I could be certain."


Where no guiding ideals are left to point the way, the scale of values disappears and with it the meaning of our deeds and sufferings, and at the end can lie only negation and despair. Religion is therefore the foundation of ethics, and ethics the presupposition of life.


I think that modern physics has definitely decided in favor of Plato.

In fact the smallest units of matter are not physical objects in the ordinary sense; they are forms, ideas which can be expressed unambiguously only in mathematical language.


An expert is someone who knows some of the worst mistakes that can be made in his subject and how to avoid them.


The more precise the measurement of position, the more imprecise the measurement of momentum, and vice versa.


There is a fundamental error in separating the parts from the whole, the mistake of atomizing what should not be atomized. Unity and complementarity constitute reality.


The one who insists on never uttering an error must remain silent.


Thus, the more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known, and conversely.


About Werner Heisenberg

Quotes 69 sayings
Nationality German
Profession Physicist
Birthday October 16

What we observe is not nature itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning. Our scientific work in physics consists in asking questions about nature in the language that we possess and trying to get an answer from experiment by the means that are at our disposal.


...separation of the observer from the phenomenon to be observed is no longer possible.


In the strict formulation of the law of causality—if we know the present, we can calculate the future—it is not the conclusion that is wrong but the premise. On an implication of the uncertainty principle.


The ontology of materialism rested upon the illusion that the kind of existence, the direct "actuality" of the world around us, can be extrapolated into the atomic range. This extrapolation is impossible, however.


By getting to smaller and smaller units, we do not come to fundamental or indivisible units. But we do come to a point where further division has no meaning.


It will never be possible by pure reason to arrive at some absolute truth.


My mind was formed by studying philosophy, Plato and that sort of thing.


Quantum theory provides us with a striking illustration of the fact that we can fully understand a connection though we can only speak of it in images and parables.


Nonsense. Space is blue and birds fly through it.


We will have to abandon the philosophy of Democritus and the concept of elementary particles. We should accept instead the concept of elementary symmetries.


Science no longer is in the position of observer of nature, but rather recognizes itself as part of the interplay between man and nature. The scientific method ... changes and transforms its object: the procedure can no longer keep its distance from the object.


Nature is made in such a way as to be able to be understood.

Or perhaps I should put it-more correctly-the other way around, and say that we are made in such a way as to be able to understand Nature.


Whether we electrons, light quanta, benzol molecules, or stones, we shall always come up against these two characteristics, the corpuscular and the undular.


Both matter and radiation possess a remarkable duality of character, as they sometimes exhibit the properties of waves, at other times those of particles. Now it is obvious that a thing cannot be a form of wave motion and composed of particles at the same time - the two concepts are too different


The basic idea is to shove all fundamental difficulties onto the neutron and to do quantum mechanics in the nucleus.


The discontinuous 'reduction of the wave packets' which cannot be derived from Schroedinger's equation is ... a consequence of the transition from the possible to the actual.


Can quantum mechanics represent the fact that an electron finds itself approximately in a given place and that it moves approximately with a given velocity, and can we make these approximations so close that they do not cause experimental difficulties?


The conception of objective reality .

.. has thus evaporated ... into the transparent clarity of mathematics that represents no longer the behavior of particles but rather our knowledge of this behavior.


The solution of the difficulty is that the two mental pictures which experiment lead us to form - the one of the particles, the other of the waves - are both incomplete and have only the validity of analogies which are accurate only in limiting cases.


Even for the physicist the description in plain language will be a criterion of the degree of understanding that has been reached.


In general, scientific progress calls for no more than the absorption and elaboration of new ideas- and this is a call most scientists are happy to heed.


In my paper the fact the XY was not equal to YX was very disagreeable to me.

I felt this was the only point of difficulty in the whole scheme...and I was not able to solve it.


Every word or concept, clear as it may seem to be, has only a limited range of applicability.


Natural science, does not simply describe and explain nature;

it is part of the interplay between nature and ourselves.


The more closely you look at one thing, the less closely can you see something else.


The problems of language here are really serious.

We wish to speak in some way about the structure of the atoms. But we cannot speak about atoms in ordinary language.


The positivists have a simple solution: the world must be divided into that which we can say clearly and the rest, which we had better pass over in silence. But can anyone conceive of a more pointless philosophy, seeing that what we can say clearly amounts to next to nothing? If we omitted all that is unclear, we would probably be left completely uninteresting and trivial tautologies.


There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them.


The Same organizing forces that have shaped nature in all her forms are also responsible for the structure of our minds.


The structure underlying the phenomena is not given by material objects like the atoms of Democritus but by the form that determines the material objects. The Ideas are more fundamental than the objects.


I think that the discovery of antimatter was perhaps the biggest jump of all the big jumps in physics in our century.


The existing scientific concepts cover always only a very limited part of reality, and the other part that has not yet been understood is infinite.


Every tool carries with it the spirit by which it has been created.


I believe that the existence of the classical "path" can be pregnantly formulated as follows: The "path" comes into existence only when we observe it.


The physicist may be satisfied when he has the mathematical scheme and knows how to use for the interpretation of the experiments. But he has to speak about his results also to non-physicists who will not be satisfied unless some explanation is given in plain language. Even for the physicist the description in plain language will be the criterion of the degree of understanding that has been reached.


Unless you stake your life, life will not be won.


Only a few know, how much one must know to know how little one knows.