The Most Dangerous Possible German

Algis Valiunas at The New Atlantis:

The physicist Werner Heisenberg (1901–1976) won himself a lasting name with a world-altering discovery so startling and influential that it has leaked into popular culture — albeit in a misconceived, bastardized form. Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is a pillar of quantum physics, and represents the titanic straining of human intelligence to explain phenomena that we really don’t have words to describe. Heisenberg’s achievement rivals Einstein’s — although Einstein found the uncertainty principle to be worse than dubious, a gross violation of the cardinal rules governing scientific truth and an offense against God Himself. Yet for Heisenberg, as he said in Physics and Philosophy (1958), quantum theory — along with Newtonian mechanics, thermodynamics, and electrodynamics and special relativity — is one of the four conceptual systems of physics “that have already attained their final form.”

Great honor is due such masterly theoreticians. But of course both Einstein’s and Heisenberg’s theories laid the groundwork for the most terrible weapons ever devised, and many have not forgiven the minds that opened the prospect of man-made Armageddon.

more here.