The real Heisenberg

The name Heisenberg gained new fame thanks to the show called Breaking Bad. It was the main character Walter White's pseudonym for the drug underworld. This name was a tribute to a famous physicist, but out of all the scientists out there, why did Walt choose this one?

Werner Karl Heisenberg (1901 – 1976) was a German theoretical physicist and a revolutionary man, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1932 “for the creation of quantum mechanics”. He is best known for his 1927’s uncertainty principle. It basically says that nothing has a definite position, a definite trajectory, or a definite momentum. In other words, uncertainty is inherent in the quantum realm. (The uncertainty principle reflects the extent to which Walter White’s life is also steeped in uncertainty)

Moreover, Breaking Bad’s allusion to Heisenberg and quantum physics also connects with the concept of duality. Just as an electron is both a wave and a particle (and neither of these), Walt is both a chemistry teacher and a meth cook, both a victim and a murderer.

Werner Heisenberg also formulated various other significant breakthroughs in quantum field theory and high-energy particle physics are associated with him. He wrote more than 600 original research papers, philosophical essays and explanations for general audiences. Heisenberg also played a vital role in the reconstruction of German science after the WWII.

Like Walter White, Werner Heisenberg discovered to have cancer. He died of cancer of the kidneys and gall bladder at his home, on 1 February 1976.

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