the uncertainty principle has become catchphrase for the general difficulty, not just in science, of establishing untainted knowledge. When journalists admit that their own view can influence the stories they are reporting, or when anthropologists lament how their presence disturbs the behaviors of the cultures they are examining, Heisenberg’s principle is not far away: the observer changes the thing observed. When literary theorists assert that a text offers a variety of meanings, according to the tastes and prejudices of different readers. Heisenberg lurks in the background: the act of observation determines what is and what isn’t observed.

__ David Lindley
Uncertainty: Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, and the Struggle for the Soul of Science

Comments are closed.