Erwin Schrödinger




Schrödinger was born in Vienna and educated at Vienna University. He taught physics at the universities of Stuttgart, Germany; Breslau, Poland; Zürich, Switzerland; Berlin, Germany; Oxford, England; and Graz, Austria. He was director of the school of theoretical physics of the Institute of Advanced Study in Dublin, Ireland, from 1940 until his retirement in 1955.

Schrödinger's most important contribution to the understanding of the atom was his development of an elegant and rigorous mathematical description of the discrete standing waves that electrons must follow in their orbits around atomic nuclei. Schrödinger proved that his theory, published in 1926, was mathematically equivalent to the theories of matrix mechanics advanced the previous year by the German physicist Werner Heisenberg. Together, their theories formed much of the foundation of quantum mechanics. Schrödinger shared the 1933 Nobel Prize in physics with the British physicist Paul A. M. Dirac for his contribution to the development of quantum mechanics. His research included important work on atomic spectra, statistical thermodynamics, and wave mechanics.

Text and image from Microsoft Encarta 1998.