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Name:  John
Status:  other
Age:  20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001


Question:
Often I've heard people use the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle to explain why soup temperature can't be accurately measured because the thermometer itself adds or subtracts to/from the temperature, or that surveys can never receive truly accurate results because the participating peoples' answers are affected by the survey itself. However, as stated in Dr. Bart Kosko's book, "Fuzzy Thinking," I think that the HUP is misused in these circumstances. Am I (and Dr Kosko) right in this assumption, or are these variants of the principle that are acceptable?


Replies:
You and Dr. Kosko are correct. There are experimental things oue could do to get a more accurate soup-temperature measurement, such as independently calibrating the heat capacities of the soup and thermometer at different temperatures. However, there is no way to get around or correct for the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

The soup temperature is a useful analogy of how the HUP works, but it is not an example.

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Director
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois



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