Zurek, Wojciech H. Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Last reviewed:January 2021
- Indeterminacy and atomic sizes
- Indeterminacy and the wave function
- Indeterminacy and predictability
- Other uncertainty relations
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A fundamental principle of quantum mechanics, which asserts that it is not possible to know both the position and momentum of an object with arbitrary accuracy. This contrasts with classical physics, where the position and momentum of an object can both be known exactly. In quantum mechanics, this is no longer possible, even in principle. More precisely, the indeterminacy or uncertainty principle, derived by W. Heisenberg, asserts that the product of Δx and Δp—measures of indeterminacy of a coordinate and of momentum along that coordinate—must satisfy inequality (1).
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