uncertainty principle

noun

Definition of uncertainty principle

: a principle in quantum mechanics: it is impossible to discern simultaneously and with high accuracy both the position and the momentum of a particle (such as an electron)

called also Heisenberg uncertainty principle

Examples of uncertainty principle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The uncertainty principle, formulated by Werner Heisenberg in 1927, is a consequence of the fuzziness of the universe at microscopic scales. Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American, "Particle Measurement Sidesteps the Uncertainty Principle," 6 Aug. 2014 This same technique of acquiring the minimum amount of information needed for a measurement seemed to offer a way around the uncertainty principle. Clara Moskowitz, Scientific American, "Particle Measurement Sidesteps the Uncertainty Principle," 6 Aug. 2014 In a sense, merely looking at a quantum system unavoidably disturbs it, a manifestation of Heisenberg’s famous uncertainty principle. Quanta Magazine, "Why I Called It ‘Quantum Supremacy’," 2 Oct. 2019 In a sense, merely looking at a quantum system unavoidably disturbs it, a manifestation of Heisenberg’s famous uncertainty principle. Quanta Magazine, "Why I Called It ‘Quantum Supremacy’," 2 Oct. 2019 In a sense, merely looking at a quantum system unavoidably disturbs it, a manifestation of Heisenberg’s famous uncertainty principle. Quanta Magazine, "Why I Called It ‘Quantum Supremacy’," 2 Oct. 2019 But because of the uncertainty principle in quantum physics, the state of a quantum field is never certain, so its energy can never be exactly zero. Quanta Magazine, "Why the Tiny Weight of Empty Space Is Such a Huge Mystery," 12 Mar. 2018 In a sense, merely looking at a quantum system unavoidably disturbs it, a manifestation of Heisenberg’s famous uncertainty principle. Wired, "Why I Coined the Term ‘Quantum Supremacy’," 6 Oct. 2019 That leaves us with one option: to lean on Keats’s uncertainty principle and find joy in the mystery. Lindsay Warner, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why I Chose to Freeze My Eggs," 27 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'uncertainty principle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of uncertainty principle

1929, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of uncertainty principle was in 1929

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Last Updated

21 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Uncertainty principle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/uncertainty%20principle. Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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