哥本哈根解释的核心思想是由一个核心的量子物理学先驱者开发的，这些先驱者以Niels Bohr的哥本哈根研究所为中心，直到20世纪20年代，推动了对量子波函数的解释，量子波函数已经成为量子物理课程中教授的默认概念。这种解释的关键要素之一是Schroedinger方程表示在进行实验时观察特定结果的概率。物理学家布莱恩·格林在其着作“隐藏的现实”中解释如下：“由波尔和他的团队开发的量子力学的标准方法，并以他们的名义称为哥本哈根解释，设想无论何时你试图看到概率波，这种观察行为阻碍了你的尝试。“问题是我们只在宏观层面上观察到任何物理现象，因此我们无法直接获得微观层面的实际量子行为。正如量子之谜所描述的那样：“哥本哈根没有正式的解释。但是每一个版本都抓住了公牛的角，并声称观察产生了观察到的属性。这里棘手的词是’观察’。”哥本哈根解释考虑两个领域：我们的测量工具的宏观，经典领域受牛顿定律的支配;并且存在由Schroedinger方程控制的原子和其他小事物的微观，量子领域。它认为我们从不直接处理微观领域的量子对象。因此，我们不必担心他们的物理现实或缺乏物理现实。一个“存在”可以计算它们对我们宏观仪器的影响，这足以让我们考虑。“如上所述，哥本哈根解释的确切性质一直有点模糊。最早提到它的想法之一。这是在Werner Heisenberg的1930年出版的“量子理论的物理原理”一书中，他引用了“量子理论的哥本哈根精神”。但那时 – 以及之后的几年 – 它也是量子力学的唯一解释（甚至虽然它的支持者之间存在一些差异），所以没有必要将它与自己的名字区分开来。当大卫伯姆的隐变量方法和休等替代方法时，它才开始被称为“哥本哈根解释”。 Everett的“多世界解释”出现了对既定解释的挑战。“哥本哈根解释”一词通常归因于Werner Heisenberg在讲话时在1950年代反对这些替代解释。使用“哥本哈根解释”一词的讲座出现在海森堡1958年的散文，物理和哲学系列中。
The central ideas of the Copenhagen interpretation were developed by a core group of quantum physics pioneers centered around Niels Bohr’s Copenhagen Institute through the 1920’s, driving an interpretation of the quantum wavefunction that has become the default conception taught in quantum physics courses. One of the key elements of this interpretation is that the Schroedinger equation represents the probability of observing a particular outcome when an experiment is performed. In his book The Hidden Reality, physicist Brian Greene explains it as follows: “The standard approach to quantum mechanics, developed by Bohr and his group, and called the Copenhagen interpretation in their honor, envisions that whenever you try to see a probability wave, the very act of observation thwarts your attempt.” The problem is that we only ever observe any physical phenomena at the macroscopic level, so the actual quantum behavior at the microscopic level is not directly available to us. As described in Quantum Enigma: “There is no ‘official’ Copenhagen interpretation. But every version grabs the bull by the horns and asserts that an observation produces the property observed. The tricky word here is ‘observation.’… “The Copenhagen interpretation considers two realms: there is the macroscopic, classical realm of our measuring instruments governed by Newton’s laws; and there is the microscopic, quantum realm of atoms and other small things governed by the Schroedinger equation. It argues that we never deal directly with the quantum objects of the microscopic realm. We therefore need not worry about their physical reality, or their lack of it. An ‘existence’ that allows the calculation of their effects on our macroscopic instruments is enough for us to consider.” As mentioned above, the exact nature of the Copenhagen interpretation has always been a bit nebulous. One of the earliest references to the idea of this was in Werner Heisenberg’s 1930 book The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory, wherein he referenced “the Copenhagen spirit of quantum theory.” But at that time – and for several years after – it was also really the only interpretation of quantum mechanics (even though there were some differences between its adherents), so there was no need to distinguish it with its own name. It only began to be referred to as “the Copenhagen interpretation” when alternative approaches, such as David Bohm’s hidden-variables approach and Hugh Everett’s Many Worlds Interpretation, arose to challenge the established interpretation. The term “Copenhagen interpretation” is generally attributed to Werner Heisenberg when he was speaking in the 1950’s against these alternative interpretations. Lectures using the phrase “Copenhagen Interpretation” appeared in Heisenberg’s 1958 collection of essays, Physics and Philosophy.