10 - From Heisenberg to Yukawa  pp. 343-374

From Heisenberg to Yukawa

By Ioan James

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Our last five remarkable physicists were born in the seven years between 1901 and 1907. They came from Austria, England, Germany, Japan and America.


In the great revolution of fundamental physics which started with the ideas of Planck and culminated with the impressive breakthrough of the 1920s, and in the completed framework of quantum mechanics, Heisenberg made many important contributions. Among these there were two, the basic treatment of quantum transitions and the formulation of the uncertainty principle, that were so original and impressive that they came close to the popular image, so often unrealistic, of great new concepts growing out of the thoughts of a single individual of genius. In the two years from 1925 to 1927, which saw the emergence of a new set of principles of physics, which have since then been refined and widely applied but not fundamentally changed, the steps taken by Heisenberg were large and decisive.

Werner Karl Heisenberg was born on December 5, 1901 in the elegant Würzburg suburb of Sanderau. The family moved to Munich in 1910 and he came to regard it as his home town, retaining throughout his life an intense affection for the city. His father August, the son of a master locksmith, was a domineering man of great vigour. Werner had a younger brother, Karl, who later emigrated to America and became wealthy, as well as three sisters and an elder brother, Erwin, who became an industrial chemist.


Reference Title: Further Reading

Reference Type: further-reading

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