SCIENCE

Hitler's Nuclear Physicist

David C. Cassidy’s new book, Beyond Uncertainty: Heisenberg, Quantum Physics and the Bomb, is a portrait of German physicist Werner Heisenberg, his science, and his country. At age 23, Heisenberg conceived the first mechanics for quantum theory, which became known as Matrix Mechanics because it was constructed around manipulated lattices. He then invented the principle of Uncertainty, which states that you cannot pin down the location of a subatomic particle – a theory that upended Newtonian physics. While he was not a member of the Nazi Party, Heisenberg was a patriot who wanted Germany to win the War, and so he worked diligently on building a nuclear bomb for Hitler. Writes the Los Angeles Times: “Cassidy does not so much exculpate Heisenberg as explain him, with a transparency that makes this biography a pleasure to read.”