Search This Blog

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The uncertainty principle and challenging d impossible!!

I was reading this book “A brief history of time” by Stephen Hawking; a person I am quite fond of. While reading, I came across this chapter “The Uncertainty Principle”. This chapter gives a crisp description on the uncertainty principle and its implications. Most of us know what uncertainty principle is but just in case we forgot, it states that at a particular time, its impossible to accurately calculate both the position and velocity of a particle; the details can be found in the book I just mentioned.

During 19th century, in the wake of Newton’s laws, the famous French scientist Marquis de Laplace suggested that the future of the universe and also human behaviour could be completely predicted if we could calculate its present state. This implied that the future events could be determined by us humans and hence it challenged the intervention by God! Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately!), Heisenberg came up with his uncertainty principle which proved to be a setback to Laplace’s dream of a deterministic universe because if one is unable to exactly measure the present position and velocity of an entity, how can one determine its future state?

The uncertainty principle together with Quantum mechanics led to the sad death of Laplace’s deterministic theory and gave way to the probabilistic universe which states that a future event could not be fully predicted but what could be predicted is a number of possible outcomes. (Einstein was not quite convinced with this theory and he also got God involved in all this which was evident in his emotional statement “God does not play dice”!)

What happy thing I could visualize from this is that this theory favours probability and thus there is no certainty or even impossibility for any event to take place; though some events are favoured more than others but this does not kill the chance for a seemingly impossible event to take place. So, if we want something and the present situation makes it seem impossible, we shouldn’t give up because with the uncertainty principle prevailing, nothing seems certain and also nothing impossible!