(Nearly) 90 Years of Heisenberg’s Error-Disturbance Relation: Challenges and Vindications

Paul Busch (University of York)

Submitted to “90 Years of Quantum Mechanics”

In 1927 quantum pioneer Werner Heisenberg formulated his famous uncertainty principle, one aspect of which concerned a trade-off between the accuracy in the measurement of one observable and the resultant necessary disturbance of another observable incompatible with the first. Here we investigate why it has taken nearly 90 years until rigorous formulations of this error-disturbance relation have been found and proven. We review challenges to this relation and its underlying joint measurement error relation and explain why these challenges are ultimately unfounded.

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