Problem: A student is examining a bacterium under the microscope. The E. coli bacterial cell has a mass of = 0.500 (where a femtogram,fg , is 10-15 g) and is swimming at a velocity of v = 9.00 um/s, with an uncertainty in the velocity of 8.00 %. E. coli bacterial cells are around 1 um (10-6m ) in length. The student is supposed to observe the bacterium and make a drawing. However, the student, having just learned about the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in physics class, complains that she cannot make the drawing. She claims that the uncertainty of the bacterium's position is greater than the microscope's viewing field, and the bacterium is thus impossible to locate.What is the uncertainty of the position of the bacterium? Express your answer numerically in meters.

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$
 Δx \times Δp \geq \frac{h}{\pi4} \qquad h=6.626 x10^{-34} Js\ or\ kgm^2/s \\
 Δx\times mΔv \geq \frac{h}{\pi4} \quad Δx = uncertainty \ in \ position $

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Problem Details

A student is examining a bacterium under the microscope. The E. coli bacterial cell has a mass of = 0.500 (where a femtogram,fg , is 10-15 g) and is swimming at a velocity of v = 9.00 um/s, with an uncertainty in the velocity of 8.00 %. E. coli bacterial cells are around 1 um (10-6m ) in length. The student is supposed to observe the bacterium and make a drawing. However, the student, having just learned about the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in physics class, complains that she cannot make the drawing. She claims that the uncertainty of the bacterium's position is greater than the microscope's viewing field, and the bacterium is thus impossible to locate.

What is the uncertainty of the position of the bacterium? Express your answer numerically in meters.

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What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?

Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle concept. You can view video lessons to learn Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Or if you need more Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle practice, you can also practice Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle practice problems.

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Gonzalez's class at CSUF.