Who is Erwin Schrödinger?

Biography

BornErwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger
12 August 1887
ViennaAustria-Hungary
Died4 January 1961 (aged 73)
Vienna, Austria
CitizenshipAustria, Ireland
NationalityAustrian, Irish
FieldsPhysics
InstitutionsUniversity of Breslau
University of Zürich
Humboldt University of BerlinUniversity of Oxford
University of Graz
Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies
Ghent University
Alma materUniversity of Vienna
Doctoral advisorFriedrich Hasenöhrl
Other academic advisorsFranz S. Exner
Friedrich Hasenöhrl
Notable studentsLinus Pauling
Felix Bloch
Brendan Scaife
Known forSchrödinger equation
Schrödinger’s cat
Schrödinger method
Schrödinger functional
Schrödinger picture
Schrödinger-Newton equations
Schrödinger field
Rayleigh-Schrödinger perturbation
Schrödinger logics
Cat state
Notable awardsNobel Prize in Physics (1933)
Max Planck Medal (1937)
SpouseAnnemarie Bertel (1920–61)[1]

Early years

In 1887 Schrödinger was born in Vienna, Austria to Rudolf Schrödinger (cerecloth producer, botanist) and Georgine Emilia Brenda (daughter of Alexander Bauer, Professor of Chemistry, Technische Hochschule Vienna).

His mother was half Austrian and half English; his father was Catholic and his mother was Lutheran. Despite having a religious background, he was later said to be an atheist.[3][4]

In 1898 he attended the Akademisches Gymnasium. Between 1906 and 1910 Schrödinger studied in Vienna under Franz Serafin Exner (1849–1926) and Friedrich Hasenöhrl (1874–1915). He also conducted experimental work with Karl Wilhelm Friedrich “Fritz” Kohlrausch 1884–1953.

In 1911 Schrödinger became an assistant to Exner. At an early age, Schrödinger was strongly influenced by Arthur Schopenhauer. As a result of his extensive reading of Schopenhauer’s works, he became deeply interested throughout his life in color theory and philosophy. In his lecture “Mind and Matter,” he said that “the world extended in space and time is but our representation.” This is a repetition of the first words of Schopenhauer’s main work.

Biography

Early years

In 1887 Schrödinger was born in Vienna, Austria to Rudolf Schrödinger (cerecloth producer, botanist) and Georgine Emilia Brenda (daughter of Alexander Bauer, Professor of Chemistry, Technische Hochschule Vienna).

His mother was half Austrian and half English; his father was Catholic and his mother was Lutheran. Despite having a religious background, he was later said to be an atheist.[3][4]

In 1898 he attended the Akademisches Gymnasium. Between 1906 and 1910 Schrödinger studied in Vienna under Franz Serafin Exner (1849–1926) and Friedrich Hasenöhrl (1874–1915). He also conducted experimental work with Karl Wilhelm Friedrich “Fritz” Kohlrausch 1884–1953.

In 1911 Schrödinger became an assistant to Exner. At an early age, Schrödinger was strongly influenced by Arthur Schopenhauer. As a result of his extensive reading of Schopenhauer’s works, he became deeply interested throughout his life in color theory and philosophy. In his lecture “Mind and Matter,” he said that “the world extended in space and time is but our representation.” This is a repetition of the first words of Schopenhauer’s main work.

Middle years

In 1914 Erwin Schrödinger achieved Habilitation (venia legendi). Between 1914 and 1918 he participated in war work as a commissioned officer in the Austrian fortress artillery (GoriziaDuinoSistiana, Prosecco, Vienna). On 6 April 1920, Schrödinger married Annemarie Bertel. The same year, he became the assistant to Max Wien, in Jena, and in September 1920 he attained the position of ao. Prof. (Ausserordentlicher Professor), roughly equivalent to Reader (UK) or associate professor (US), in Stuttgart. In 1921, he became o. Prof. (Ordentlicher Professor, i.e. full professor), in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland).

In 1921, he moved to the University of Zürich. In January 1926, Schrödinger published in Annalen der Physik the paper “Quantisierung als Eigenwertproblem” [tr. Quantization as an Eigenvalue Problem] on wave mechanics and what is now known as the Schrödinger equation. In this paper he gave a “derivation” of the wave equation for time independent systems, and showed that it gave the correct energy eigenvalues for the hydrogen-like atom. This paper has been universally celebrated as one of the most important achievements of the twentieth century, and created a revolution in quantum mechanics, and indeed of all physics and chemistry. A second paper was submitted just four weeks later that solved the quantum harmonic oscillator, the rigid rotor and the diatomic molecule, and gives a new derivation of the Schrödinger equation. A third paper in May showed the equivalence of his approach to that of Heisenberg and gave the treatment of the Stark effect. A fourth paper in this most remarkable series showed how to treat problems in which the system changes with time, as inscattering problems. These papers were the central achievement of his career and were at once recognized as having great significance by the physics community.

Early years

In 1887 Schrödinger was born in Vienna, Austria to Rudolf Schrödinger (cerecloth producer, botanist) and Georgine Emilia Brenda (daughter of Alexander Bauer, Professor of Chemistry, Technische Hochschule Vienna).

His mother was half Austrian and half English; his father was Catholic and his mother was Lutheran. Despite having a religious background, he was later said to be an atheist.[3][4]

In 1898 he attended the Akademisches Gymnasium. Between 1906 and 1910 Schrödinger studied in Vienna under Franz Serafin Exner (1849–1926) and Friedrich Hasenöhrl (1874–1915). He also conducted experimental work with Karl Wilhelm Friedrich “Fritz” Kohlrausch 1884–1953.

In 1911 Schrödinger became an assistant to Exner. At an early age, Schrödinger was strongly influenced by Arthur Schopenhauer. As a result of his extensive reading of Schopenhauer’s works, he became deeply interested throughout his life in color theory and philosophy. In his lecture “Mind and Matter,” he said that “the world extended in space and time is but our representation.” This is a repetition of the first words of Schopenhauer’s main work.

Middle years

In 1914 Erwin Schrödinger achieved Habilitation (venia legendi). Between 1914 and 1918 he participated in war work as a commissioned officer in the Austrian fortress artillery (GoriziaDuinoSistiana, Prosecco, Vienna). On 6 April 1920, Schrödinger married Annemarie Bertel. The same year, he became the assistant to Max Wien, in Jena, and in September 1920 he attained the position of ao. Prof. (Ausserordentlicher Professor), roughly equivalent to Reader (UK) or associate professor (US), in Stuttgart. In 1921, he became o. Prof. (Ordentlicher Professor, i.e. full professor), in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland).

In 1921, he moved to the University of Zürich. In January 1926, Schrödinger published in Annalen der Physik the paper “Quantisierung als Eigenwertproblem” [tr. Quantization as an Eigenvalue Problem] on wave mechanics and what is now known as the Schrödinger equation. In this paper he gave a “derivation” of the wave equation for time independent systems, and showed that it gave the correct energy eigenvalues for the hydrogen-like atom. This paper has been universally celebrated as one of the most important achievements of the twentieth century, and created a revolution in quantum mechanics, and indeed of all physics and chemistry. A second paper was submitted just four weeks later that solved the quantum harmonic oscillator, the rigid rotor and the diatomic molecule, and gives a new derivation of the Schrödinger equation. A third paper in May showed the equivalence of his approach to that of Heisenberg and gave the treatment of the Stark effect. A fourth paper in this most remarkable series showed how to treat problems in which the system changes with time, as inscattering problems. These papers were the central achievement of his career and were at once recognized as having great significance by the physics community.

In 1927, he succeeded Max Planck at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin. In 1933, however, Schrödinger decided to leave Germany; he disliked the Nazis’ anti-semitism. He became a Fellow of Magdalen College at the University of Oxford. Soon after he arrived, he received the Nobel Prize together with Paul Dirac. His position at Oxford did not work out; his unconventional personal life (Schrödinger lived with two women)[5] was not met with acceptance. In 1934, Schrödinger lectured at Princeton University; he was offered a permanent position there, but did not accept it. Again, his wish to set up house with his wife and his mistress may have posed a problem.[6] He had the prospect of a position at the University of Edinburgh but visa delays occurred, and in the end he took up a position at the University of Graz in Austria in 1936.

In the midst of these tenure issues in 1935, after extensive correspondence with Albert Einstein, he proposed what is now called the Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment.

 

 

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