Honestly speaking, I can't seem to get of the gist of the book. I wanted to read it as I was hoping to have a basic understanding of the esoteric quantum theory but it's a shame that the theories of relativity and quantum physics have continued to ellude me like ever...
Even so, I'm amazed by quite a few statements about the ancient philosophies that Heisenberg made thereof and have learned quite some physical theories and phenomena that I wasn't aware of before.
Generally, he gave a brief about the ancient philosophies conerning the original or fundamental substance that causes everything. I must say it's a fascinating exposition. To my understanding, both philosophy and physics are concerned with finding the original cause and fundamental principle of the formation of the universe and everything therein. Or in other words, throughout the entire human history we've been searching for the theory of everything which scientists like Hawking all have dreamed to find out about.
Thanks to the development of the increasingly precise measuring technologies, human beings have made it possible to look into the smaller substances for more clues to the origin of everything, breaking atoms into smaller particles by increased forces.
But the world of particles discovered through the endeavor of modern physics can be strikingly different from the daily life and, according to Heisenberg, the common language we use in the daily life is no longer sufficient or suitable for describing the particles, otherwise it can be misleading and cause misunderstanding. Up to this point, I guess I know why it's difficult for me to make sense of many of the ideas in physics... it's probably I don't understand the correct language at all...
P120 - The real problem behind these many controversies was the fact that no language existed in which one could speak consistently about the new situation. The ordinary language was based upon the old concepts of space and time and this language offered the only unambiguous means of communication about the setting up and the results of the measurements.
Another problem Heisenberg has mentioned is to what degree can our measurements and descriptions of anything be objective? Since the language is not always be up-to-date and how can we make sure that before and during the observation of an object that we do not arbituarily distinguish the observer and the rest of the world from the object to be observed? How can we know that if the observation itself has influenced the result of the observation or not?
P25 - Our scientific work in physics consists in asking questions about nature in the language that we possess and trying to get an answer from experiment by the means that are at our disposal.In this way quantum theory reminds us, as Bohr has put it, of the old wisdom that when searching for harmony in life one must never forget that in the drama of existence we are ourselves both players and spectators. It is understandable that in our scientific relation to nature our own activity becomes very important when we have to deal with parts of nature into which we can penetrate only by using the most elaborate tools.