Fr.: interprétation de Copenhague
A general heading which covers a wide variety of complex views on → quantum theory. As the first and the founding interpretation of the → quantum mechanics, it was developed in the late 1920's mainly by the Danish physicist Niels Bohr, but also Werner Heisenberg, Max Born and other physicists who made important contributions to the overall understanding of this field. Bohr expressed himself on the subject at various meetings and later published several articles and comments, but he never wrote a systematic and complete version of his views. There is not a unique Copenhagen Interpretation but various more or less complete versions, the common denominator of which is mainly the work of Bohr. Among those opposed to the Copenhagen Interpretation have been Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Louis de Broglie, Max Planck, David Bohm, Alfred Landé, Karl Popper, and Bertrand Russell. The Copenhagen Interpretation recognizes that the deterministic picture of the universe that works so well at the macroscopic level does not work for the world at the quantum level. The universe at the quantum level is predictable only in a statistical sense. This implies that we can never really know the nature of quantum phenomena. The four cornerstones of the Copenhagen Interpretation are: → wave-particle duality, the probability → wave function, the → uncertainty principle, and the significance of the → observer. The observer is of the utmost importance because he causes the reality to unfold in the way it does. The key feature of the Copenhagen Interpretation is a concept known as the → collapse of the wave function, for which there is no known physical explanation; see also → Schrodinger's cat.
Copenhagen, from Dan. København "merchant's port," from køber "merchant" ("buyer") + havn "port," from the fact that the originator and chief interpreter of this school was Niels Bohr whose headquarters was in Copenhagen; → interpretation.
Verbal noun of → interpret.