Erwin Schrödinger

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Related to Erwin Schrödinger: Max Planck

Schrödinger, Erwin


Born Aug. 12,1887, in Vienna; died there Jan. 4, 1961; buried in Alpbach, Tírol. Austrian physicist. One of the founders of quantum mechanics.

Schrödinger received the Ph.D. degree from the University of Vienna in 1910. In 1911 he began working at the Physics Institute of the University of Vienna. In 1920 he was a professor at the Technische Hochschule in Stuttgart, and in 1921, a professor at the Technische Hochschule in Breslau (Wrocław). From 1921 to 1927 he was a professor at the Technische Hochschule in Zürich, and from 1927, a professor at the University of Berlin. From 1933 to 1935 he was a professor at Oxford University, and from 1936 to 1938 at the university in Graz. In 1938–39 he was a professor in Ghent. Beginning in 1940, he was first a professor at the Royal Academy in Dublin, and then director of the Institute for Advanced Studies, which he founded in Dublin. From 1956, he was a professor at the University of Vienna.

Schrödinger’s main works dealt with mathematical physics, the theory of relativity, atomic physics, and biophysics. His early studies were devoted to the theory of the crystal lattice and the creation (1920) of the mathematical theory of color, which became the basis for modern colorimetry. His most important contribution was the creation of wave mechanics (late 1925 and early 1926): proceeding from L. de Broglie’s hypothesis regarding the wave properties of matter, Schrödinger showed that the stationary states of atomic systems may be considered as the self-oscillations of the wave field that corresponds to the given system. Schrödinger discovered the fundamental equation of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics (the Schrödinger equation) and gave its solution for a number of particular problems; he provided a general method of applying the equation in perturbation theory. Schrödinger established the relationship between wave mechanics and the “matrix mechanics” of W. Heisenberg, M. Born, and P. Jordan and proved that they were physically identical. The mathematical formalism developed by Schrödinger and the wave function ψ introduced by him proved to be the most adequate mathematical apparatus of quantum mechanics and its applications.

Schrödinger received a Nobel Prize in 1933. He was a foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1934).


Abhandlungen zur Wellenmechanik, 2nd ed. Leipzig, 1928.
In Russian translation:
Izbrannye trudy po kvantovoi mekhanike. Moscow, 1976. (Series Klassiki nauki.)
Chto takoe zhizn’? S tochki zreniia ftziki, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1972.