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Werner Heisenberg
Bundesarchiv Bild183-R57262, Werner Heisenberg.jpg
Heisenberg in 1933
Werner Karl Heisenberg

(1901-12-05)5 December 1901
Würzburg, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire
Died 1 February 1976(1976-02-01) (aged 74)
Resting place Munich Waldfriedhof
Nationality German
Alma mater
Known for
Elisabeth Schumacher (m. 1937)
Children 7 (incl. Jochen and Martin)
  • Matteucci Medal (1929)
  • Barnard Medal for Meritorious Service to Science (1930)
  • Nobel Prize in Physics (1932)
  • Max Planck Medal (1933)
  • Foreign Member of the Royal Society (1955)
  • Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences (1961)
Scientific career
Fields Theoretical physics
Thesis On stability and turbulence of liquid flows (1923)
Doctoral advisor Arnold Sommerfeld
Other academic advisors
Doctoral students
  • Felix Bloch
  • Edward Teller
  • Rudolf E. Peierls
  • Reinhard Oehme
  • Friedwardt Winterberg
  • Peter Mittelstaedt
  • Șerban Țițeica
  • Ivan Supek
  • Erich Bagge
  • Hermann Arthur Jahn
  • Heimo Dolch
  • Hans Heinrich Euler
  • Edwin Gora
  • Bernhard Kockel
  • Arnold Siegert
  • Wang Foh-san
  • Karl Ott
  • Bary F. Malik
Other notable students
  • William Vermillion Houston
  • Guido Beck
  • Ugo Fano
  • Ettore Majorana
  • Herbert Wagner
  • Robert Döpel
  • Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker
Werner Heisenberg signature.svg
Heisenberg,Werner 1926
Heisenberg, 1926 at Göttingen

Werner Karl Heisenberg (5 December 1901 – 1 February 1976) was a German physicist. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in quantum mechanics. He discovered the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which shows there is a limit on how well some things can be measured.

Heisenberg was born in Wuerzburg, Germany, the son of a professor of Byzantine history. He went to university to study physics in Munich. Arnold Sommerfeld was one of his teachers.

Heisenberg was a very good student and needed only three years to finish his studies. He then wrote a doctoral thesis about movements in the flows of liquids ("Über Stabilität und Turbulenz von Flüssigkeitsströmen"—"On the stability and turbulence of liquid streams"). In 1924 he became assistant to Max Born at the University of Göttingen and in 1926 worked with Niels Bohr at the University of Copenhagen.

Together with Born and Pascal Jordan he founded Quantum mechanics. At the age of 26 Heisenberg became professor of theoretical physics at the University of Leipzig. This was a very young age for such a job.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize when he was 31 years old.

In 1937 he married Elisabeth Schumacher. They had seven children, one of their sons is well known as a neurobiologist and geneticist, Martin Heisenberg.

During the Second World War, from 1942 to 1945 Werner Heisenberg was head of German atomic research work. This did not result in any working nuclear weapons, possibly because Heisenberg did not want it to. This is not a sure thing. Some people have said that Heisenberg was very much against the Nazis. Some people have said that he must have been for them, because he worked for them.

After the war, he was held as a prisoner at Farm Hall in England from May 1945 to January, 1946, where the British and Americans had many other German scientists.

Later he worked in nuclear research, mainly in West Germany, but he was against nuclear weapons.

He died in Munich Germany, in 1976 at the age of 74.

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