The Press: The Friendly Pool

The better one defines the position, the more indefinite the momentum becomes, and vice versa: or ∆g ∙ ∆p ≈ h.

—Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle

To most laymen, Physicist Werner Heisenberg's formula denning uncertainty is as incomprehensible as an income tax instruction sheet. But to Managing Editor Alfred Friendly of the Washington Post, it's as simple as π. What it means, Friendly explained in the current Bulletin of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, is that "the very act of observing or probing a phenomenon changes the phenomenon." Heisenberg developed his principle while studying electrons—tiny...

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