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Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle

Busch, Paul and Heinonen, Teiko and Lahti, Pekka (2006) Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. In: [2007] 15th UK and European Meeting on the Foundations of Physics (Leeds, 29-31 March 2007).

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    Abstract

    Heisenberg's uncertainty principle is usually taken to express a limitation of operational possibilities imposed by quantum mechanics. Here we demonstrate that the full content of this principle also includes its positive role as a condition ensuring that mutually exclusive experimental options can be reconciled if an appropriate trade-off is accepted. The uncertainty principle is shown to appear in three manifestations, in the form of uncertainty relations: for the widths of the position and momentum distributions in any quantum state; for the inaccuracies of any joint measurement of these quantities; and for the inaccuracy of a measurement of one of the quantities and the ensuing disturbance in the distribution of the other quantity. Whilst conceptually distinct, these three kinds of uncertainty relations are shown to be closely related formally. Finally, we survey models and experimental implementations of joint measurements of position and momentum and comment briefly on the status of experimental tests of the uncertainty principle.


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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Keywords: uncertainty principle, uncertainty relations, approximate measurements, joint measurements, inaccuracy, unsharpness, disturbance
    Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
    Conferences and Volumes: [2007] 15th UK and European Meeting on the Foundations of Physics (Leeds, 29-31 March 2007)
    Depositing User: Paul Busch
    Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2006
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:14
    Item ID: 3077
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/3077

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