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Erwin Schrödinger
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Erwin Schrödinger

Erwin Schrödinger (August 12, 1887January 4, 1961) was an Austrian physicist famous for his contributions to quantum mechanics, especially the Schrödinger equation, for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1933. He proposed the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment, and he had a life-long interest in Vedanta.


Early years

In 1887, Schrödinger was born, in Vienna (Erdberg), to Rudolf Schrödinger (cerecloth producer, botanist) and Georgine Emilia Brenda (d. o Alexander Bauer, Professor of Chemistry, k.u.k. Technische Hochschule Vienna). In 1898, he attended the Akademisches Gymnasium. Between 1906-10, Schrödinger studied in Vienna with Franz Serafin Exner (1849 - 1926) and Fritz Hasenöhrl (1874 - 1915). He also conducted experimental work in Kohlrausch. In 1911, Schrödinger became an assistant to Exner.

Middle years

In 1914, Schrödinger achieved Habilitation (venia legendi). Between 1914-18, he was involved in war participation (Görz, Duino, Sistiana, Prosecco, Vienna). In 1920, April 6, Schrödinger married Annemarie Bertel. In 1920, he became the assistant to Max Wien, in Jena. In 1920, Sept. he attained the position of a. o. Prof. ["Ausserordentlicher Professor", roughly equivalent to Reader (UK) or associate professor (US))], in Stuttgart. In 1921, he attained the o. Prof. ["Ordentlicher Professor", i.e. full professor], in Breslau (presently Wroclaw, Poland)

In 1922, he went to the Zürich University. In 1926, Schrödinger published in the Annalen der Physik the paper "Quantisierung als Eigenwertproblem" [tr. Quantisation as an Eigenvalue Problem] over the Schrödingers wave-mechanics/-equation. In 1927, he followed Max Planck in Berlin to the Humboldt-University. In 1933, Schrödinger term limited, he became the Fellow of Magdalen College, University of Oxford. In 1933, he received the Nobel Prize together with Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac. In 1934, Schrödinger lectured at Princeton University (permanent position not accepted)

Later years

In 1936, University Graz, Austria. In 1938, after Hitler occupied Austria, he had problems due to leaving Germany in 1933 and his known preferences. He underwent search warrants and investigations (via Italy/Switzerland to Oxford - University of Ghent). At Institute for Advanced Studies in Dublin, he became the Director of the School for Theoretical Physics. He wrote about 50 further publications on various topics. This was an attempts towards a unified field theory.

In 1944, he wrote "What is Life?" (which contains Negentropy, concepts for genetic code). According to James D. Watson's memoir, DNA, The Secret of Life, Schrödinger's 1944 book What is Life? gave Watson the inspiration to research the gene, which led to the discovery of the DNA double helix structure. He stayed in Dublin until retirement. In 1955, he returned to Vienna (chair ad personam). At an important lecture during the World Power Conference he refused to speak on nuclear energy because of his scepticism about it (he gave a philosophical lecture instead).

Death and afterwards

In 1961, Schrödinger died in Vienna at the age of 73 (due to tuberculosis). He left a widow, Anny. He was buried in Alpbach (Austria).

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