Dark Question of Werner Heisenberg

09. July 2021.

Dark Question of Werner Heisenberg
Guest: dr Antun Balaž

Heisenberg changed our understanding of nature at the micro-level, says Dr Antun Balaž of the Institute of Physics, Belgrade in the 27th volume of the popular science video series ‘The Garden of Physics’, devoted to this hero of science, one of the founders of modern quantum physics, a thinker who united mathematics and philosophy within physics, an unusual character who courageously stood up against the Nazis, but then, in the Second World War participated in German nuclear programme.

‘Things in nature don’t necessarily happen the way we imagine. Heisenberg realized that we have to use abstract mathematical objects when describing nature’, states Dr Balaž, explaining that only essential elements should be included when we describe nature. Due to this, numerous findings in quantum mechanics are alien to human intuition, therefore Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle reveals that there are fundamental limitations to what we can know about the microworld.

Since numerous physicists of Jewish origin were part of modern physics development, with growing Nazism, quantum physics was disputed before World War II. Despite the dangers, Heisenberg openly opposed this, and for this, he could not be elected a full professor in Germany, although he had been a Nobel Prize laureate. However, according to Dr Balaž, nowadays we see Heisenberg’s personality multidimensionally, having later had a controversial role in the German nuclear programme.

Despite having been an embodiment of a theoretical physicist, Heisenberg reminded us that physics is an experimental science and that if a theory gives a more detailed description than we can determine, it does not necessarily mean that such a description is accurate,” explains Dr Balaž.

The series ‘The Garden of Physics’ was launched by the Institue of Physics, Belgrade inspired by the concept of popular IPB forums which, before the pandemic broke out, had brought together a large audience at the big hall of the Students’ Cultural Centre. Realized in cooperation with the portal ’Science Through Stories’, each episode of ’The Garden of Physics’ is dedicated to one of the fundamental topics of modern science. Instead of being in front of an audience, we now talk with physicists and other researchers in the Garden of the Institute, on the banks of the Danube in Zemun.



Authors: Marija Đurić and Slobodan Bubnjević
Scenario: ’Science Through Stories’
Camera/drone: Zoran Veljanoski, Bojan Živojinović (Twotech Solutions)
Production associate: Jovana Nikolić
Directing and editing: Bojan Živojinović

Produced by: Insitute of Physics, Belgrade, 2021