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Why is there confusion in the real meaning of the uncertainty principle?
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Alejandro Castillo (jcastillo (at) upb dot edu)

PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 11:26 pm    
Subject: Why is there confusion in the real meaning of the uncertainty principle?
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Dear all,

For a long time I wonder why the name "Heisenberg uncertainty principle" is common in Wavelet theory if it is not related to quantum physics. I know the REAL meaning of the uncertainty principle (UP). I stress the word "real" because many people confuse the UP of signal analysis with the Heisenberg UP of quantum physic. Even important authors fall in this mistake. Furthermore, I've seen a wavelet books using the wrong name of Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle; but showing the correct formulae. Mathematics can constraint physics, but physics can not constraint maths. So my question is: Why so many people confuse the uncertainty principle of time-frequency distributions with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle of quantum physics?

I have the hypothesis that at the beginning of the development of the wavelet theory, some people wrongly tried to draw some similarities between the UP of time-frequency representation with the UP of physics, so they used the name Heisenberg, however nobody care about changing the name or showing the differences. And then people started using correct concepts (or sometimes incorrect concepts) but using a wrong name. Is my hypothesis correct? Am I missing something?

I base my comments on the paper "Time-Frequency representations a review", Proceedings of the IEEE, by Leon Cohen, pg 970-971

Thanks in advance for your answer.

Alejandro Castillo.
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