Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr and the Story of Copenhagen Interpretation

Filip Grygar

Abstract


The article focuses on the misleading story of the so-called Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. The interpretation was allegedly created as unitary or consistent and shared by its founders in 1927 by virtue of the so-called Copenhagen spirit of quantum theory. The paper is based on the role which two leading figures, Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, played in this story. The first part of the article introduces variations of what is considered to be Copenhagen interpretation. The second part reveals that while quantum mechanics had originated in the 1920s, the Copenhagen interpretation was mainly a problematic Heisenbergʼs product of the 1950s. One of his main motivations for the introduction of Copenhagen interpretation was to set up a defence against increasing criticism of the supporters of quantum theory. Since there was no unitary or consistent interpretation of quantum mechanics among members of the so-called Copenhagen school, the last part of the paper focuses on several differences primarily between Bohr and Heisenberg’s interpretation.


Keywords


Copenhagen Interpretation; Quantum Theory; Complementarity; Heisenberg; Bohr

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published biannually by the Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies at the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences. ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: http://teorievedy.flu.cas.cz /// email: teorievedy@flu.cas.cz