Erwin Schrodinger


Born: Aug 12, 1887 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Died: Jan 4, 1961 (at age 73) in Vienna, Austria
Nationality: Austrian
Famous For: Schrodinger equation, Schrodinger’s cat, Schrodinger method, Schrodinger functional, Schrodinger group, Schrodinger picture, Schrodinger-Newton equations, Schrodinger field, Rayleigh-Schrodinger perturbation, Schrodinger logics and Cat state
Awards: Nobel Prize in Physics (1933) and Max Planck Medal (1937)

Erwin Schrödinger was a famous Austrian theoretical physicist that contributed to our current understanding of physics. He was a highly educated man and the only son of parents that valued education. He dabbled in botany and painting when he was a young man.

Once he started studying at the university, he came under the influence of Friedrich Hasenhörl. The work he did with his mentor during this time in his career would turn out to be the foundation to a great deal of his later work. After Schrödinger received his PhD he became part of the faculty at the University of Vienna.

World War I

Schrödinger was in the Italian artillery during World War I. His mentor Hasenhörl died in the war. When Schrödinger went up to receive the Nobel Prize in 1933, he said that if it was not for the war, his mentor would have been the one to receive the honor.


After getting married and moving from one position to another, Schrödinger was recruited to be the head of the physics department at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. This was the most productive point of his career. During this time, he read a footnote in one of Albert Einstein‘s works which sparked his interest in wave mechanics.

This is when the physicist started to explore the idea of a wave when it comes to the movement of an electron in an atom. He published work about this. His idea in the publication quickly became known by the name Schrödinger’s Wave Equation. The academic world was chiefly divided between two publications, Schrödinger’s own and that of Werner Heisenberg. Unlike Heisenberg’s, Schrödinger’s theory could be visualized. However, the physicist himself put a stop to this rift when he proved that both were identical, simply expressed in different ways.

Schrodinger’s equation is part of his enduring legacy when it comes to technical contributions to the field. In his later years, he produced interesting philosophical questions related to the field of mathematics and physics.

Berlin and Recognition

Schrödinger was offered the prestigious position of Max Planck, a physicists who had already changed the way people thought about the field with his groundbreaking theories on quantum dynamics and thermal radiation.

He moved to Berlin in 1972 to take on the post. Despite making some great strides in his career, Schrödinger was hesitant to take the offer at first, uneasy about moving to a big city from the picturesque Alps. The move turned out to be a wonderful one for him.

He won the Nobel Prize in 1933 with Paul A.M Dirac. That same year, Hitler came to power in Germany and Schrödinger decided that it was time to go to England. He had an Oxford University Fellowship for a while and received an offer from Princeton University. He ultimately turned it down.

Schrödinger returned to his native country for a little while after he was offered a post at University of Graz. However, because he had left Germany, he was seen as an enemy. Schrödinger spent the last years of his working career in Dublin. He spent the last years of his life working and publishing papers.