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Physics in Perspective

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 33–54 | Cite as

Werner Heisenberg and Carl Friedrich Freiherr von Weizsäcker: A Fifty-Year Friendship*

  • David C. Cassidy
Article

Abstract

This paper follows Werner Heisenberg and Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker during their fifty-year friendship from 1926, when they first met in Copenhagen, to Heisenberg’s death in Munich in 1976. The relationship underwent profound changes during that period, as did physics, philosophy, and German society and politics, all of which exerted important influences on their lives, work, and interactions with each other. The nature of these developments and their impact are explored in this paper.

Keywords

Werner Heisenberg Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker the Weizsäcker family cosmic rays nuclear physics philosophy of physics physics in the Third Reich the German uranium project during World War II West German science policy 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I am very grateful to Elise Crull, A. J. Kox, Mark Walker, Dieter Hoffmann, and Karl von Meyenn for generous assistance with information and sources, and to Karl von Meyenn for his comments and suggestions. I am also very grateful to Klaus Hentschel and Dieter Hoffmann for editorial comments on the earlier German version of this paper, and to Robert P. Crease and Peter Pesic for editorial comments on the current version.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Natural Science ProgramHofstra UniversityHempsteadUSA

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