quantum uncertainty

At the quantum level our universe can be seen as an indeterminate place, predictable in a statistical way only when you employ large enough numbers. Between that universe and a relatively predictable one where the passage of a single planet can be timed to a picosecond, other forces come into play. For the in-between universe where we find our daily lives, that which you believe is a dominant force. Your beliefs order the unfolding of daily events. If enough of us believe, a new thing can be made to exist. Belief structure creates a filter through which chaos is sifted into order.
—  Frank Herbert, Heretics of Dune

Equation #11: Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle

Anyone who is not shocked by Quantum Mechanics has not quite understood it”-Niels Bohr

I agree Mr. Bohr, QM does blow your mind. The uncertainty principle is one of those things that prove that our perception of the world is limited. Anything in the universe can be both wave and particle at the same time and that puts a limit to how accurate our measurements can be.
What that means in our context is that, if you try to measure the velocity(or momentum) of a particle as well as its position at the same instant, you cannot have exact values of both. If you measure position accurately, the value of velocity will have some uncertainty associated with it and vice a versa. 

The reason we don’t observe this phenomenon in everyday life is is that the uncertainty values are very, very tiny. A person moving with a velocity of say, 5 km/hr (+or - 0.05 km/hr) and weighing 60 kg will have the uncertainty in position = 1.8 * 10^-35 meters! That’s smaller than the radius of an atomic nucleus. However, when you go into the realm of lightweight, superfast entities(like subatomic particles), the uncertainties get larger and can have a significant effect on the macroscopic properties of an object. 

The uncertainty principle applies to a number of pair of observables other than momentum and position. Most common example is that of energy-time which explains the working of Strong force, according to some theories.

It is important to understand that this fundamental limit is not due to experimental errors, rather a phenomenon of nature itself.

You cannot predict, even theoretically, the exact values of two so called “incompatible” quantities simultaneously.

For uncertainty principle in action, see

For more clarification, see


There are also hints that smell is a quantum sense. Our noses appear to work by sensing the natural vibration frequencies of the bonds between atoms in molecules. Those frequencies determine whether a smell receptor is switched on and sends a signal to the brain. The best explanation for experimental observations involves an electron using a phenomenon known as quantum uncertainty to tunnel through a seemingly impenetrable barrier. Essentially, it borrows energy from the universe in order to leap across an empty space in the smell receptors and trigger the brain’s sense of smell. As long as it returns the energy quickly enough, the electron can use as much as it needs. This “quantum tunnelling” phenomenon is also at the heart of modern electronics.“

Then there’s the navigation trick birds use for migration. Studies of the European robin (and the robin had to wear a cute little eyepatch during this research) suggest that a particular configuration of a molecule in the robin’s retina – a configuration that can only be explained by the rules of quantum theory – allows the bird to sense Earth’s magnetic field and thus determine the direction in which it should fly.


Michael Brooks, Five discoveries taking science by surprise | Science | The Observer

What about precognition? That’s how I sense what’s coming and which way to fly.


How Does Quantum Mechanics Allow The Sun To Shine?

“If it weren’t for the quantum nature of every particle in the Universe, and the fact that their positions are described by wavefunctions with an inherent quantum uncertainty to their position, this overlap that enables nuclear fusion to occur would never have happened. The overwhelming majority of today’s stars in the Universe would never have ignited, including our own. Rather than a world and a sky alight with the nuclear fires burning across the cosmos, our Universe would be desolate and frozen, with the vast majority of stars and solar systems unlit by anything other than a cold, rare, distant starlight.”

Inside the nuclear furnace of the Sun, protons and other atomic nuclei are compressed together into a tiny region of space, where the incredible temperatures and energies try to overcome the repulsive forces of their electric charges. At a maximum temperature of 15 million K, and with a long-tailed (Poisson) distribution of energies at the highest end, we can compute how many protons are energetic enough to overcome the Coulomb barrier. That number is exactly zero. When you consider that 95% of stars are less massive and reach lower core temperatures than our Sun, the problem appears to be even bigger. Yet we’re saved by quantum mechanics, where spread-out wavefunctions can overlap, and nuclear fusion as we know it can proceed.

At a fundamental level, it’s only the quantum nature of our Universe that enables the stars to shine at all.

The nature of the future is completely different from the nature of the past. When quantum effects are significant, the future shows all the signs of quantum weirdness, including duality, uncertainty, and entanglement. With the passage of time, after the time-irreversible process of state-vector reduction has taken place, the past emerges, with the previous quantum uncertainty replaced by the classical certainty of definite particle identities and states. The present time is where this transition largely takes place, but the process does not take place uniformly: evidence from delayed choice and related experiments shows that isolated patches of quantum indeterminacy remain, and that their transition from probability to certainty only takes place later. Thus, when quantum effects are significant, the picture of a classical Evolving Block Universe (‘EBU’) cedes place to one of a Crystallizing Block Universe (‘CBU’), which reflects this quantum transition from indeterminacy to certainty, while nevertheless resembling the EBU on large enough scales.
—  George F. R. Ellis & Tony Rothman, Time and Spacetime: The Crystallizing Block Universe