The principle of Bohr's complementarity - History...

Bohr's complementarity principle

For completeness, we also consider the principles of Bohr's complementarity and Heisenberg uncertainty. Reflecting on the problematic questions of quantum mechanics, Niels Bohr noted that the data of various experiments are not combined by one picture. Insufficiency of this view was considered in para 5.2.

Why did Bohr so ​​vigorously advocate the principle of complementarity, and until the end of his days? Presumably, the very formulation of the principle of complementarity appeared not accidentally, but was a reaction to some actual problem.

This is really so. Attempts to describe the results of quantum-mechanical measurements through the concepts of classical concepts are, as is well known, unsatisfactory. If we add to them the principle of additionality, then an illusion is created that the problem situation is resolved. It was this illusion that led Bohr to the principle of complementarity. He stubbornly adhered to the erroneous belief that the results of quantum-mechanical measurements should be described by means of the concepts of classical physics. But since they are contradictory, they must be accompanied by the principle of complementarity. But the fact is that after this they will not cease to be contradictory. Such is the background of his mistake. Thus, the principle of complementarity is not a principle of quantum mechanics.

It is interesting that Bohr attributed the principle of complementarity to the general philosophical significance. "In the general philosophical aspect, it is significant here that with respect to analysis and synthesis in other fields of knowledge we meet with situations reminiscent of the situation in quantum mechanics. So, the integrity of living organisms and the characteristics of people with consciousness, as well as human cultures, represent features of integrity, the display of which requires a typically additional way of describing & quot ;. It means that analysis and synthesis are complementary. It's one thing if we consider parts of the system, the other when the system appears as a whole. Analyzing, we do not take into account, and sometimes we destroy the whole. When we consider the whole, we do not take into account that it consists of some parts.

At first glance, Bohr's arguments seem not only correct, but also highly original. But on closer inspection it turns out that they do not in any way testify to the principle of complementarity. In fact, he talks about the nature of the so-called systemic traits. The point is that the interaction of parts of the system leads to the formation of integrative properties, which these parts do not possess. For example, a water molecule has such properties that two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom do not possess, which form its composition. This circumstance is perfectly explained by quantum chemistry, and that's all. The characteristics of atoms and molecules are not additional in the specific sense that Bohr postulated. The essence of the situation in question with system attributes is quite simple: they are the result of the interaction of some objects. To understand this, there is no need to resort to the principle of additionality, which does not explain anything.

The sequence of quantum principles can be represented in the following form:

the postulate of the wave function = & gt; Pauli's principle = & gt; The operational principle = & gt; The principle of visualization = & gt; Observability principle = & gt; the principle of relativity to the means of observation.


1. So, the main milestones of scientific transduction are marked with principles that form a hierarchy.

2. Permutation of principles is inadmissible in places.

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