Monday, October 08, 2012

Is Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle Wrong?

Scientists who study the ultra-small world of atoms know it is impossible to make certain simultaneous measurements -- for example, finding out both the location and momentum of an electron -- with an arbitrarily high level of precision. Because measurements disturb the system, increased certainty in the first measurement leads to increased uncertainty
in the second. The mathematics of this unintuitive concept -- a hallmark of quantum mechanics -- were first formulated by the famous physicist Werner Heisenberg at the beginning of the 20th century and became known as the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.
Now researchers from the University of Toronto have gathered the most direct experimental evidence that Heisenberg's original formulation is wrong.

Photo:University of Toronto quantum optics graduate students Dylan Mahler (l) and Lee Rozema (r) prepare pairs of entangled photons to study the disturbance the photons experience after they are measured.

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