Kaushal Sapre & Midhun Mohan T

Heisenberg’s Microscope



Heisenberg’s Microscope is an installation that inquires about the complexity of the nature of matter through a game of chess. Quantum mechanics talks in the language of probability or chance, and Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty professes the existence of this ambiguity as an inherent part of nature itself. But how does this uncertainty matter?

Chess, a game that faithfully mirrors life, has three fixed outcomes – win, lose or a draw. But within these seemingly pre-determined outcomes, the chess pieces move in a unique way. In fact, the estimated total number of unique chess games that can be played is 10^120, while the estimated total number of atoms in the universe is only 10^81. While playing a game of chess, you and your opponent collectively choose one unique event from 10^120 others. In this installation, a complete game of chess is observed and recorded in a single image using light as a medium. This parallel between possibilities in chess and probability in matter is what this work aims to exploit, and in the process, it gives the view a peek into the colossal complexity of the universe.


Kaushal Sapre is an artist based in Goa. He holds a masters in physics and a bachelors in chemical engineering from BITS Pilani Goa Campus. His background in science and technology offers him a unique point of view in dealing with art.

Contact: kaushalsapre@gmail.com

Midhun Mohan is an artist and an animator. Midhun works in diverse media, from ink on paper to new media, digital and animation. His recent work is being shown in ‘Janela’, a collateral exhibition with the Kochi Muzuris Biennale.

Contact: animid85@gmail.com

Midhun and Kaushal share a studio in Panjim, Goa.


The uncertainty principle and its repercussions sparked a massive debate on the philosophy of physics and matter, between the Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr, the two stalwarts of modern physics. The idea that nature has an inherent element of uncertainty was not palatable to Einstein, who described it with the now famous words – ‘God does not play dice with the universe.’ Bohr and Einstein remained at an intellectual deadlock for the rest of their lives. At the same time, they greatly respected and admired each other. Bohr wrote an account of his debates with Einstein in ‘Discussions with Einstein on Epistemological Problems in Atomic Physics’. It is a marvellous read that opens one’s eyes to the ramifications of uncertainty.

Photo Credit : Mitwa A.V.Tinka Kalajzic

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