Milestones, Feb. 16, 1976

Died. Werner Heisenberg, 74, iconoclastic German nuclear physicist who joined with Albert Einstein, Max Planck and others in repealing some of Newton's laws of physics during the 1920s and 1930s; in Munich. Heisenberg's outstanding contribution, for which he won the Nobel Prize at 31, was the formulation of the uncertainty, or indeterminacy principle. It states that there is an ultimate limit on physical measurement or observation in scientific experiments because the very act of measurement changes the behavior of objects under scrutiny. Unlike many of his scientist friends, Heisenberg remained in Germany under the Nazi regime and carried out atomic research.


Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!