Who is Erwin Schrodinger?June 25, 2021
Erwin Schröding, full name Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger, was an Austrian physicist who lived from August 12, 1887 to January 4, 1961.
He is best known for his contributions to quantum mechanics, particularly the Schrödinger Equation, for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1933. He went down in history as the scientist who proposed the thought experiment known as Schrödinger’s Cat. He is known for expressing the behavior of electrons, which are parts of the atom, with mathematical formulas and establishing wave mechanics.
Schrödinger was born in the Erdberg district of Vienna, the only child of Rudolf and Georgine Emilia Brenda Schrödinger. His father was a wax cloth manufacturer and botanist. He graduated from the Royal Academic High School (Akademisches Gymnasium), which he entered in 1898, with high success in 1906 and was accepted to the physics department of the University of Vienna in the same year. Here, influenced by the ideas of his teachers Franz Serafin Exner and Friedrich Hasenöhrl, he conducted experimental work under the supervision of Friedrich Kohlrausch. After graduating in 1910, Schrödinger returned to university after a year of military service and began working as an assistant to Exner in 1911. When the First World War started in 1914, he was called up to the army again and sent to the Italian front.
Being the son of a wealthy industrialist, Schrödinger, who grew up taking private lessons at home, later entered the University of Vienna and became a successful student. He had even completed his doctorate at the age of 23. When the First World War began, he served as an artillery officer on the South-Western front. By good coincidence, he returned from the war unscathed. He decided to leave physics for a while and deal with philosophy. However, the city he dreamed of working on philosophy was left to Austria with the peace treaty. This forced Schrödinger to remain a physicist. Thereupon, he moved to Germany and at the age of 34 began his professorship at the University of Stuttgart.
In one of Einstein’s articles, there was a footnote that suggested De Broglie’s view that matter could also be thought of as a wave. This meant that electrons also had wave properties. It was known that some things could not be explained with the atomic model developed by Bohr. However, the proposed atomic model became even more meaningful when electrons were given wave properties.
Electrons could be in any orbit around the nucleus. The matter wave was in the form of definite wavelengths around these orbits. This creates a standing wave and meant that it would not emit light as long as the electron remained in its orbit. Electron orbits could be found in other orbitals corresponding to only integer multiples of wavelengths.
Like Dirac and Born, Schrödinger sought to express the behavior of the electron in a mathematical formula. This relationship, sometimes called “wave mechanics” and sometimes “quantum mechanics”, became the mathematical basis of Planck’s quantum theory. The basic formula of this relationship was the Schrödinger wave equation. This research, published in 1926, was similar to the matrix mechanics published by Heisenberg a year ago. What one explained, the other could do. Wave mechanics became more and more common. This was because it better animated the structure of the atom.
Schrödinger was honored with the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work. Schrödinger had to return to his native Austria, when Hitler came to power the same year he was a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Berlin. When the Nazi administration occupied Austria in 1938, Schrödinger moved to England, this time to Ireland, and became a professor in Dublin. Hearing this, Dirac also came to the same city, and so the founders of “wave mechanics” rejoined their forces. Longing for his homeland at the age of 69, Schrödinger returned to Vienna and lived in this city until his death. Schrodinger died on January 4, 1961 in Vienna.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Who are Open Education Philosophy Textbooks?