The problems of language here are really serious. We wish to speak in some way about the structure of the atoms. But we cannot speak about atoms in ordinary language.
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Although the theory of relativity makes the greatest of demands on the ability for abstract thought, still it fulfills the traditional requirements of science insofar as it permits a division of the world into subject and object (observer and observed) and, hence, a clear formulation of the law of causality.
In America, it was decided to attempt the production of atomic bombs with an effort that would constitute a large part of the collective American war effort. In Germany, an effort one thousandth the scale of the American was applied to the problem of producing atomic energy that would drive engines.
It is generally believed that our science is empirical and that we draw our concepts and our mathematical constructs from the empirical data. If this were the whole truth, we should, when entering into a new field, introduce only such quantities as can directly be observed, and formulate natural laws only by means of these quantities.
It is seen that both matter and radiation possess a remarkable duality of character, as they sometimes exhibit the properties of waves, at other times those of particles. Now, it is obvious that a thing cannot be a form of wave motion and composed of particles at the same time - the two concepts are too different.
It is true that in quantum theory we cannot rely on strict causality. But by repeating the experiments many times, we can finally derive from the observations statistical distributions, and by repeating such series of experiments, we can arrive at objective statements concerning these distributions.
Reports in Washington show that our reasoning was just like that of your physicists. With all this information available, at least to privileged persons, I cannot understand why it is generally held in the United States that we completely missed the basic principle of the bomb until after Hiroshima.
The German physicists knew at least so much about the manufacture and construction of atomic bombs that it was clear to them that the manufacture of bombs in Germany could not succeed during the war. For this reason, they were spared the moral decision whether they should make an atomic bomb, and they had only worked on the uranium engine.
The uncertainty principle refers to the degree of indeterminateness in the possible present knowledge of the simultaneous values of various quantities with which the quantum theory deals; it does not restrict, for example, the exactness of a position measurement alone or a velocity measurement alone.