Did Heisenberg really say this about what he would ask God?

This was quoted without a cite in a Scientific American blog I read it in an aggregator, so I couldn’t get my hands on the URL. It’s recent.

:: paraphrased here::
Heisenberg was asked what questions he would ask God…::\paraphrase::

“I would ask God two questions: ‘Why quantum mechanics, and why turbulence. I think he will have answer for the former.’”

The wiki article on turbulence claims the quote has been attributed to both Heisenberg and Horace Lamb:[


I have seen the version of quote attributed to Horace Lamb - given he was professor of Mathematics at my old university, and there is still a turbulence research group there, we like that attribution. (I spent many many hours of my life in the Horace Lamb lecture theatre, on both sides of the teaching process.)

Horace Lamb’s major contributions were fluids, so the quote makes more sense coming from him.

So for those of use lacking in the physics department. What exactly where they trying to say?

“Turbulence is really fucking complicated.”

They were saying that both <insert modern physics field here> and turbulence seem crazy, but that <insert modern physics field> at least appears to be operating under some set of rules, which could in principle be understood, but turbulence is just plain whacked out.


Do believe that the study of turbulence is operating under such an assumption? And whether the natural phenomenon itself is whacked out (ie, the Lamb statement as a whole, by your reading of it)?

Just interested.