Werner Heisenberg

"In truth the subtle web of thought/is like the weaver's fabric wrought"

Image from a 1987 French-English Visual Dictionary, courtesy of Matthew Baird
Image from a 1987 French-English Visual Dictionary, courtesy of Matthew Baird

“Both science and art form in the course of the centuries a human language by which we can speak about the more remote parts of reality, and the coherent sets of concepts as well as the different styles of art are different words or groups of words in this language.” – Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy (1958)

Poetry and quantum mechanics do indeed seem to speak to the more remote parts of reality as Werner Heisenberg suggests, and, as a result, both systems invite new ways of speaking, furthering what language is capable of within and outside of human experience.

Maybe logic

"Matrix Mechanics" by Kim Goldberg first appeared in the Scientific Wonders issu
"Matrix Mechanics" by Kim Goldberg first appeared in the Scientific Wonders issue of Rampike, Vol. 20, No. 2. Image courtesy of Kim Goldberg.

Erwin Schrödinger developed the thought experiment of Schrödinger’s Cat—where a cat, sealed in a box, is both alive and dead at the same time in a quantum entanglement until an observer looks at the cat, at which point the cat is either alive or dead—to criticize quantum mechanics by showing how the theory breaks down at larger scales and cannot logically represent reality.

Symbolic multiplication

Image I made using Alfred Jarry's equation for the "surface of god"
Image I made using Alfred Jarry's equation for the "surface of god" and NASA's latest picture of the known universe

I have often thought of Werner Heisenberg’s interpretation of quantum mechanics as the most conceptually radical of the breakthroughs in theoretical physics to emerge in the last and current century, in part, due to its claim that physical reality cannot be observed. This claim challenged Isaac Newton’s classical mechanics and the scientific method, which assumed that physical reality can be observed and tested and that principles of nature can be determined.

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