WHEN IT COMES TO its ability to formulate accurate explanations and make testable predictions, the science of quantum mechanics is one of the most successful theories of all time. Despite its astonishing successes, quantum mechanics has an unfortunate side effect – it can induce the cerebral equivalent of dropping a jellyfish into a blender and transform the human brain into a quivering mess of gelatinous denial.
Quantum mechanics is the theoretical construct that allows scientists to describe how matter behaves at the subatomic level. To say that it is weird is an understatement of galactic proportions and perhaps the weirdest of all its predictions is something called ‘Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle’.
Thought up by genius physicist Werner Heisenberg in 1927, the uncertainty principle states that, in the quantum world, it is impossible to simultaneously know where a particle is and where it is going – you can know its position, or you can know its momentum, but you can’t know both.