The task is…not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees. â€• Erwin Schrodinger. Schrodinger was an intelligent man who worked in all fields of science. In his work with atoms, he had changed and improved the atomic model as they knew it.
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“Statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, color and its perception, the general theory of relativity, unified field theory, particle physics, philosophy, the history of science, molecular genetics, and, especially, quantum mechanics-the multifaceted genius Erwin Schrodinger studied and contributed to all these fields in the early 20th century and earned half of the 1933 Nobel Prize in physics for his major accomplishment in quantum mechanics, the Schrodinger equation. He even invented a cat that possessed the amazing property of being alive and dead at the same time. The proverbial nine lives of an ordinary cat pale in comparison” (Rosen).
Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrodinger was born on August 12, 1887, in Vienna, Austria, to Rudolf and Emily Schrodinger (Rosen). His father was a well working chemist, painter and botanist, who owned an oilcloth factory. “Schrodinger’s father, Rudolf Schrodinger, ran an oilcloth factory, but his true passions were painting and botany (Oakes). According to Rosen, “Until age 10, Erwin was schooled at home, where he learned to speak both German and English, as both languages were spoken there. In 1898, he entered gymnasium (equivalent to high school in the United States). There he excelled in all fields but disliked the classes that required rote memorization. For example, Erwin loved physics, mathematics, and Latin grammar, which are all strictly logical, while he hated memorizing dates and facts. He grasped the physics and mathematics material right away, without doing any homework, and was easily able to solve problems in them immediately after class.” After graduating from the Akademische Gymnasium in Vienna in 1906, Schrodinger entered the University of Vienna, where he first developed an interest in theoretical physics under the tutelage of Friedrich Hansenohrl. Upon receiving his Ph.D. in 1910, Schrodinger took a position at the university’s Second Physics Institute as a laboratory assistant to the experimental physicist Franz Exner (Oakes).
Schrodinger was an expert in many fields, an atomic theory was one of them. He said electrons are to miniscule and move to fast to describe exactly where they are. (Brainhoney 4.04) He said that the electrons move around a given shape, a cloud. “A powerful model of the atom was developed by Erwin Schrodinger in 1926. Schrodinger combined the equations for the behavior of waves with the de Broglie equation to generate a mathematical model for the distribution of electrons in an atom. The advantage of this model is that it consists of mathematical equations known as wave functions that satisfy the requirements placed on the behavior of electrons. The disadvantage is that it is difficult to imagine a physical model of electrons as waves (chemed.chem.edu.purdue).
“The fundamental equation of wave mechanics. It describes the wave function Ïˆ of a particle such as an electron. There is a time-dependent Schrodinger equation and a time-independent Schrodinger equation. The time-independent Schrodinger equation is used to calculate energy levels and wave functions of quantum-mechanical systems such as atoms, molecules, solids, and nuclei. In three dimensions the time-independent Schrodinger equation is , where is the Laplace operator, m is the mass of the particle, E is its total energy and V is its potential energy. The Schrodinger equation was put forward by Erwin Schrodinger in 1926 and solved by him for the hydrogen atom. The equation is not exactly solvable for any other atomic and molecular system. In general, approximation techniques and/or the use of computers are needed to obtain accurate solutions to the Schrodinger equation for systems with more than two particles (Rennie).” Also, besides working with atoms, Schrodinger had developed another theory called Schrodinger’s cat. “He suggested a closed box containing a sample of radioactive material, a tube of cyanide, and a cat. The apparatus was to be constructed so that decay of a nucleus ejected a particle, which activated a mechanism to break the tube of cyanide. After a certain time, if a nucleus had decayed the cat would have died; if not the cat would still be alive. Schrodinger pointed out that, according to our way of interpreting quantum mechanics, the nucleus had neither decayed nor not decayed until an observation was made, and it followed that the cat was neither dead nor alive until someone opened the box and observed it (Rennie).”
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Schrodinger was a genius, and has not had his model disproven yet, for science cannot look deeper into the atom currently. “The difficulty that Schrodinger was showing is this: as long as quantum behavior is confined to the atomic and subatomic worlds, it works superbly and people must and can accept it. But quantum mechanics should also apply to the macroscopic world, the world of cars, cakes, and cats. Yet the macroscopic world does not exhibit quantum behavior. Schrodinger was on to something very deep, as this problem is still under investigation (Rosen).” Schrodinger also tried his hand at the theory of relativity, which was unsuccessful. “He studied electromagnetism and relativity and tried his hand, unsuccessfully, at a unified field theory, an idea that Einstein was working on at the time. (Rosen)”
“Erwin Schrodinger was a person of many interests, into which he was capable of delving deeply. His many contributions to human culture were mostly in physics, but also in such near and far fields as color perception, biology, history, and philosophy. Schrodinger inspired others to develop ideas and make their own contributions in various fields. His most important achievement was the Schrodinger equation, for which he shared the Nobel Prize. The idea for which he is best known beyond the physics and chemistry communities is surely Schrodinger’s famous alive-and-dead cat, which continues to haunt the thoughts of physicists and philosophers to this very day. (Rosen)” Schrodinger’s own words best describe his original genius: “The task is, not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees.”
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