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Words, May 7



Back to the laboratory:

After I mentioned hearing of a scientific theory that some things change simply because they're being observed, sort of defeating the purpose of observation, readers advised that I was probably thinking of the Hawthorne Effect, “a generally accepted psychological theory that the behavior of an individual or group will change to meet the expectations of the observer.” I referred to the H-Effect last week.

Now David Cockcroft writes: “I believe the Heisenberg Principle of Uncertainty comes closer to the scientific theory in question. A well-established principle of quantum physics, it states (in layman's terms) that it is impossible to determine the correct location of a subatomic particle because the energy used to measure it changes the location of the particle, or something to that effect.” An on-line source says that the Heisenberg Principle “has had a profound effect on scientific thought as it appears to upset the classical relationship between cause and effect at the atomic level.”

That sounds more like it. I'm fairly sure I heard of the theory in connection with the hard sciences. So the Heisenberg Principle it is. That or the Heimlich Hug.


The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has been doing some big talking about synergy, but UAMS is small potatoes compared to a certain telecommunications company:

“Nokia Siemens Networks has completed the preliminary planning process to identify the proposed remaining headcount reductions necessary to reach its previously announced synergy-related headcount-adjustment goal. To date, the company has achieved an adjustment of more than 6,000 employees and continues to expect a total synergy-related adjustment of approximately 9,000 employees. … The proposed headcount adjustments are a result of merger-related synergies, site optimization, streamlining of various functions, and strategic long-term R&D and workforce balancing designed to build a competitive Nokia Siemens Networks. Bosco Novak, head of human resources, said, ‘It is our goal to engage constructively with employee representatives to quickly and fairly achieve these needed changes so we are able to remove the ongoing uncertainty that our employees have about synergy-related headcount reductions.' ” Synergize that, UAMS.


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