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Erwin Schrödinger

Born Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger
12 August 1887(1887-08-12)
Erdberg de, Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Died 4 January 1961 (aged 73)
Vienna, Austria
Citizenship Austria, Germany, Ireland
Nationality Austria
Fields Physics
Institutions University of Breslau
University of Zürich
Humboldt University of Berlin
University of Oxford
University of Graz
Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies
Ghent University
Alma mater University of Vienna
Doctoral advisor Friedrich Hasenöhrl
Other academic advisors Franz S. Exner
Friedrich Hasenöhrl
Notable students Linus Pauling
Felix Bloch
Known for Schrödinger equation
Schrödinger's cat
Schrödinger method
Schrödinger functional
Schrödinger picture
Schrödinger-Newton equations
Schrödinger field
Rayleigh-Schrödinger perturbation
Schrödinger logics
Cat state
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physics (1933)
Signature
Bust of Schrödinger, in the courtyard arcade of the main building, University of Vienna, Austria.

Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger (German pronunciation: [ˈɛrviːn ˈʃrøːdɪŋɐ]; 12 August 1887, Erdberg – 4 January 1961, Vienna) was an Austrian theoretical physicist who achieved fame for his contributions to quantum mechanics, especially the Schrödinger equation, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1933. In 1935, after extensive correspondence with personal friend Albert Einstein, he proposed the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment.

Contents

Biography

Early years

In 1887 Schrödinger was born in Vienna, Austria to Rudolf Schrödinger (cerecloth producer, botanist) and Georgine Emilia Brenda (daughter of Alexander Bauer, Professor of Chemistry, k.u.k. Technische Hochschule Vienna).

His mother was half Austrian and half English; the English side of her family came from Leamington Spa. Schrödinger learned English and German almost at the same time due to the fact that both were spoken in the family household. His father was a Catholic and his mother was a Lutheran.

In 1898 he attended the Akademisches Gymnasium. Between 1906 and 1910 Schrödinger studied in Vienna under Franz Serafin Exner (1849 - 1926) and Friedrich Hasenöhrl (1874 - 1915). He also conducted experimental work with K.W.F. Kohlrausch.[1] In 1911, Schrödinger became an assistant to Exner. At an early age, Schrödinger was strongly influenced by Schopenhauer.[2] As a result of his extensive reading of Schopenhauer's works, he became deeply interested throughout his life in color theory, philosophy,[3] perception, and eastern religion, especially Hindu Vedanta.

Middle years

In 1914 Erwin Schrödinger achieved Habilitation (venia legendi). Between 1914 and 1918 he participated in war work as a commissioned officer in the Austrian fortress artillery (Gorizia, Duino, Sistiana, Prosecco, Vienna). On 6 April 1920, Schrödinger married Annemarie Bertel. The same year, he became the assistant to Max Wien, in Jena, and in September 1920 he attained the position of ao. Prof. (Ausserordentlicher Professor), roughly equivalent to Reader (UK) or associate professor (US), in Stuttgart. In 1921, he became o. Prof. (Ordentlicher Professor, i.e. full professor), in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland).

In 1921, he moved to the University of Zürich. In January 1926, Schrödinger published in Annalen der Physik the paper "Quantisierung als Eigenwertproblem" [tr. Quantization as an Eigenvalue Problem] on wave mechanics and what is now known as the Schrödinger equation. In this paper he gave a "derivation" of the wave equation for time independent systems, and showed that it gave the correct energy eigenvalues for the hydrogen-like atom. This paper has been universally celebrated as one of the most important achievements of the twentieth century, and created a revolution in quantum mechanics, and indeed of all physics and chemistry. A second paper was submitted just four weeks later that solved the quantum harmonic oscillator, the rigid rotor and the diatomic molecule, and gives a new derivation of the Schrödinger equation. A third paper in May showed the equivalence of his approach to that of Heisenberg and gave the treatment of the Stark effect. A fourth paper in this most remarkable series showed how to treat problems in which the system changes with time, as in scattering problems. These papers were the central achievement of his career and were at once recognized as having great significance by the physics community.

In 1927, he succeeded Max Planck at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin. In 1933, however, Schrödinger decided to leave Germany; he disliked the Nazis' anti-semitism. He became a Fellow of Magdalen College at the University of Oxford. Soon after he arrived, he received the Nobel Prize together with Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac. His position at Oxford did not work out; his unconventional personal life (Schrödinger lived with two women)[citation needed] was not met with acceptance. In 1934, Schrödinger lectured at Princeton University; he was offered a permanent position there, but did not accept it. Again, his wish to set up house with his wife and his mistress may have posed a problem.[citation needed] He had the prospect of a position at the University of Edinburgh but visa delays occurred, and in the end he took up a position at the University of Graz in Austria in 1936.

In the midst of these tenure issues in 1935, after extensive correspondence with personal friend Albert Einstein, he proposed the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment.

Erwin Schrödinger in 1933

Later years

In 1939, after the Anschluss, Schrödinger had problems because of his flight from Germany in 1933 and his known opposition to Nazism. He issued a statement recanting this opposition (he later regretted doing so, and he personally apologized to Einstein). However, this did not fully appease the new dispensation and the university dismissed him from his job for political unreliability. He suffered harassment and received instructions not to leave the country, but he and his wife fled to Italy. From there he went to visiting positions in Oxford and Ghent Universities.

In 1940 he received an invitation to help establish an Institute for Advanced Studies in Dublin, Ireland. He moved to Clontarf, Dublin and became the Director of the School for Theoretical Physics and remained there for 17 years, during which time he became a naturalized Irish citizen. He wrote about 50 further publications on various topics, including his explorations of unified field theory.

In 1944, he wrote What is Life?, which contains a discussion of Negentropy and the concept of a complex molecule with the genetic code for living organisms. According to James D. Watson's memoir, DNA, the Secret of Life, Schrödinger's book gave Watson the inspiration to research the gene, which led to the discovery of the DNA double helix structure. Similarly, Francis Crick, in his autobiographical book What Mad Pursuit, described how he was influenced by Schrödinger's speculations about how genetic information might be stored in molecules. However, the geneticist and 1946 Nobel-prize winner H.J. Muller had in his 1922 article "Variation due to Change in the Individual Gene"[4] already laid out all the basic properties of the heredity molecule that Schrödinger derives from first principles in What is Life?, properties which Muller refined in his 1929 article "The Gene As The Basis of Life"[5] and further clarified during the 1930s, long before the publication of What is Life?[6].

Schrödinger stayed in Dublin until retiring in 1955. During this time he remained committed to his particular passion; involvements with students occurred and he fathered two children by two different Irish women[citation needed]. He had a life-long interest in the Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism, which influenced his speculations at the close of What is Life? about the possibility that individual consciousness is only a manifestation of a unitary consciousness pervading the universe.[7]

In 1956, he returned to Vienna (chair ad personam). At an important lecture during the World Energy Conference he refused to speak on nuclear energy because of his skepticism about it and gave a philosophical lecture instead. During this period Schrödinger turned from mainstream quantum mechanics' definition of wave-particle duality and promoted the wave idea alone causing much controversy.

Personal life

Schrödinger suffered from tuberculosis and several times in the 1920s stayed at a sanatorium in Arosa. It was there that he discovered his wave equation. [8]

Schrödinger decided in 1933 that he could not live in a country in which persecution of Jews had become a national policy. Alexander Frederick Lindemann, the head of physics at Oxford University, visited Germany in the spring of 1933 to try to arrange positions in England for some young Jewish scientists from Germany. He spoke to Schrödinger about posts for one of his assistants and was surprised to discover that Schrödinger himself was interested in leaving Germany. Schrödinger asked for a colleague, Arthur March, to be offered a post as his assistant.

The request for March stemmed from Schrödinger's unconventional relationships with women: although his relations with his wife Anny were good, he had had many lovers with his wife's full knowledge (and in fact, Anny had her own lover, Hermann Weyl). Schrödinger asked for March to be his assistant because, at that time, he was in love with March's wife Hilde.

Many of the scientists who had left Germany spent mid-1933 in the Italian province of Bolzano. Here Hilde became pregnant with Schrödinger's child. On 4 November 1933 Schrödinger, his wife and Hilde March arrived in Oxford. Schrödinger had been elected a fellow of Magdalen College. Soon after they arrived in Oxford, Schrödinger heard that, for his work on wave mechanics, he had been awarded the Nobel prize.

In early 1934 Schrödinger was invited to lecture at Princeton University and while there he was made an offer of a permanent position. On his return to Oxford he negotiated about salary and pension conditions at Princeton but in the end he did not accept. It is thought that the fact that he wished to live at Princeton with Anny and Hilde both sharing the upbringing of his child was not found acceptable. The fact that Schrödinger openly had two wives, even if one of them was married to another man, was not well received in Oxford either. Nevertheless, his daughter Ruth Georgie Erica was born there on 30 May 1934.[9]

Erwin Schrödinger's gravesite

On 4 January 1961, Schrödinger died in Vienna at the age of 73 of tuberculosis. He left a widow, Anny (born Annemarie Bertel on 3 December 1896, died 3 October 1965), and was buried in Alpbach, Austria.

Legacy

The philosophical issues raised by Schrödinger's cat are still debated today and remains his most enduring legacy in popular science, while Schrödinger's equation is his most enduring legacy at a more technical level. The huge crater Schrödinger, on the far side of the Moon is named after him. The Erwin Schrödinger International Institute for Mathematical Physics was established in Vienna in 1993.

Color

One of Schrödinger's lesser-known areas of scientific contribution was his work on color, color perception, and colorimetry (Farbenmetrik). In 1920, he published three papers in this area:

  • "Theorie der Pigmente von größter Leuchtkraft," Annalen der Physik, (4), 62, (1920), 603-622
  • "Grundlinien einer Theorie der Farbenmetrik im Tagessehen," Annalen der Physik, (4), 63, (1920), 397-426; 427-456; 481-520 (Outline of a theory of color measurement for daylight vision)
  • "Farbenmetrik," Zeitschrift für Physik, 1, (1920), 459-466 (Color measurement).

The second of these is available in English as "Outline of a Theory of Color Measurement for Daylight Vision" in Sources of Color Science, Ed. David L. MacAdam, The MIT Press (1970), 134-182.

Bibliography

  • Nature and the Greeks and Science and Humanism Cambridge University Press (1996) ISBN 0-521-57550-8.
  • The interpretation of Quantum Mechanics Ox Bow Press (1995) ISBN 1-881987-09-4.
  • Statistical Thermodynamics Dover Publications (1989) ISBN 0-486-66101-6.
  • Collected papers Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn (1984) ISBN 3-7001-0573-8.
  • My View of the World Ox Bow Press (1983) ISBN 0-918024-30-7.
  • Expanding Universes Cambridge University Press (1956).
  • Space-Time Structure Cambridge University Press (1950) ISBN 0-521-31520-4.
  • What is Life? Macmillan (1946).
  • What is Life? & Mind and Matter Cambridge University Press (1974) ISBN 0-521-09397-X.
  • A Life of Erwin Schrödinger, Walter J. Moore, Cambridge University Press, Canto Edition (2003) ISBN 0-521-46934-1.

See also

References

  1. ^ Karl Grandin, ed. (1933). "Erwin Schrödinger Biography". Les Prix Nobel. The Nobel Foundation. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1933/schrodinger-bio.html. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  2. ^ A Life of Erwin Schrödinger, Chapter 4
  3. ^ In his lecture "Mind and Matter," Chapter 4, he said that a phrase "that has become familiar to us" is "The world extended in space and time is but our representation (Vorstellung)." This is a repetition of the first words of Schopenhauer's main work.
  4. ^ American Naturalist 56 (1922)
  5. ^ Proceedings of the International Congress of Plant Sciences 1 (1929)
  6. ^ In Pursuit of the Gene. From Darwin to DNA — By James Schwartz. Harvard University Press, 2008
  7. ^ My View of the WorldErwin Schroedinger chapter iv. What is life? the physical aspect of the living cell & Mind and matter — By Erwin Schrodinger
  8. ^ "''Schrödinger'' by Walter J. Moore: Christmas at Arosa". Books.google.co.uk. 1926-01-09. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=m-YF1glKWLoC&pg=PA194&lpg=PA194&dq=schrodinger+arosa&source=bl&ots=kc4OC4gfBO&sig=5Sc3QrQBGVpZI94s4tWw9pxXL5I&hl=en&ei=3XYdSuKTIoSsjAf9rIyRDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4#PPA194,M1. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  9. ^ Schrödinger: Life and Thought by Walter John Moore, Cambridge University Press 1992 ISBN 0-521-43767-9, discusses Schrödinger's unconventional relationships, including his affair with Hildegunde March, in chapters seven and eight, "Berlin" and "Exile in Oxford".

External links

(Italian)



Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Nirvana is a state of pure blissful knowledge... It has nothing to do with the individual.

Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger (12 August 18874 January 1961) Austrian physicist, a pioneer of quantum mechanics and winner of the 1933 Nobel Prize for Physics; famous for his proposal of the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment.

Contents

Sourced

  • Nirvana is a state of pure blissful knowledge... It has nothing to do with the individual. The ego or its separation is an illusion. Indeed in a certain sense two "I"'s are identical namely when one disregards all special contents — their Karma. The goal of man is to preserve his Karma and to develop it further... when man dies his Karma lives and creates for itself another carrier.
    • Writings of July 1918, quoted in A Life of Erwin Schrödinger (1994) by Walter Moore ISBN 0521437679
No self is of itself alone.
  • No self is of itself alone. It has a long chain of intellectual ancestors. The "I" is chained to ancestry by many factors ... This is not mere allegory, but an eternal memory.
    • Writings of July 1918, quoted in A Life of Erwin Schrödinger (1994) by Walter Moore
This is not mere allegory, but an eternal memory.
  • The stages of human development are to strive for:
    (1) Besitz [Possession]
    (2) Wissen [Knowledge]
    (3) Können [Ability]
    (4) Sein [Being]
    • Writings of August 1918, quoted in A Life of Erwin Schrödinger (1994) by Walter Moore
  • For thousands of years men have striven and suffered and begotten and woman have brought forth in pain. A hundred years ago, perhaps, another man sat on this spot; like you he gazed with awe and yearning in his heart at the dying light on the glaciers. Like you he was begotten of man and born of woman. He felt pain and brief joy as you do. Was he someone else? Was it not you yourself? What is this Self of yours? What was the necessary condition for making the thing conceived this time into you, just you and not someone else?
    • "Seek for the Road" (1925)
  •  \frac{\partial \psi}{\partial t} = \stackrel{+}{-} \frac{2 \pi i}{h} E \psi
    • The "Schrödinger equation", equation (3') in "Quantisierung als Eigenwertproblem, Vierte Mitteilung", Annalen der Physik (1926)
We are never in a position to say what really is or what really happens, but we can only say what will be observed in any concrete individual case.
  • Conditions are admittedly such that we can always manage to make do in each concrete individual case without the two different aspects leading to different expectations as to the result of certain experiments. We cannot, however, manage to make do with such old, familiar, and seemingly indispensable terms as "real" or "only possible"; we are never in a position to say what really is or what really happens, but we can only say what will be observed in any concrete individual case. Will we have to be permanently satisfied with this...? On principle, yes. On principle, there is nothing new in the postulate that in the end exact science should aim at nothing more than the description of what can really be observed. The question is only whether from now on we shall have to refrain from tying description to a clear hypothesis about the real nature of the world. There are many who wish to pronounce such abdication even today. But I believe that this means making things a little too easy for oneself.
    • "The Fundamental Idea of Wave Mechanics", Nobel lecture, (12 December 1933)
Schrödinger cat.png
Schrödinger's cat - BLINK tag.gif
  • God knows I am no friend of probability theory, I have hated it from the first moment when our dear friend Max Born gave it birth. For it could be seen how easy and simple it made everything, in principle, everything ironed and the true problems concealed. Everybody must jump on the bandwagon [Ausweg]. And actually not a year passed before it became an official credo, and it still is.
    • 13th of June, 1946, in a letter to Albert Einstein, as quoted by Walter Moore in Schrödinger: Life and Thought (1989) ISBN 0521437679
  • I insist upon the view that 'all is waves'.
    • 9th of November, 1959, in a letter to John Lighton Synge, as quoted by Walter Moore in Schrödinger: Life and Thought (1989) ISBN 0521437679
  • The multiplicity is only apparent. This is the doctrine of the Upanishads. And not of the Upanishads only. The mystical experience of the union with God regularly leads to this view, unless strong prejudices stand in the West.
    • As quoted in The Eye of Shiva: Eastern Mysticism and Science (1981) by Amaury de Riencourt
Multiplicity is only apparent, in truth, there is only one mind...
  • Multiplicity is only apparent, in truth, there is only one mind...
    • "The Oneness of Mind", as translated in Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Great Physicists (1984) edited by Ken Wilber
  • Consciousness is never experienced in the plural, only in the singular. Not only has none of us ever experienced more than one consciousness, but there is also no trace of circumstantial evidence of this ever happening anywhere in the world. If I say that there cannot be more than one consciousness in the same mind, this seems a blunt tautology — we are quite unable to imagine the contrary...
    • "The Oneness of Mind", as translated in Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Great Physicists (1984) edited by Ken Wilber
  • In itself, the insight is not new. The earliest records, to my knowledge, date back some 2500 years or more... the recognition ATMAN = BRAHMAN (the personal self equals the omnipresent, all-comprehending eternal self) was in Indian thought considered, far from being blasphemous, to represent the quintessence of deepest insight into the happenings of the world. The striving of all the scholars of Vedanta was after having learnt to pronounce with their lips, really assimilate in their minds this grandest of all thoughts.
    Again, the mystics of many centuries, independently, yet in perfect harmony with each other (somewhat like the particles in an ideal gas) have described, each of them, the unique experience of his or her life in terms that can be condensed in the phrase: DEUS FACTUS SUM (I have become God).
    To Western ideology, the thought has remained a stranger... in spite of those true lovers who, as they look into each other's eyes, become aware that their thought and their joy are numerically one, not merely similar or identical...
    • "The I That Is God" as translated in Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Great Physicists (1984) edited by Ken Wilber
The plurality that we perceive is only an appearance; it is not real.
  • The plurality that we perceive is only an appearance; it is not real. Vedantic philosophy... has sought to clarify it by a number of analogies, one of the most attractive being the many-faceted crystal which, while showing hundreds of little pictures of what is in reality a single existent object, does not really multiply that object...
    • "The Mystic Vision" as translated in Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Great Physicists (1984) edited by Ken Wilber
Inconceiveable as it seems to ordinary reason, you — and all other conscious beings as such — are all in all.
  • Knowledge, feeling, and choice are essentially eternal and unchangeable and numerically one in all men, nay in all sensitive beings. But not in this sense — that you are a part, a piece, of an eternal, infinite being, an aspect or modification of it... For we should then have the same baffling question: which part, which aspect are you? what, objectively, differentiates it from the others? No, but, inconceiveable as it seems to ordinary reason, you — and all other conscious beings as such — are all in all. Hence, this life of yours... is, in a certain sense, the whole... This, as we know, is what the Brahmins express in that sacred, mystic formula... 'Tat tvam asi' — this is you. Or, again, in such words as 'I am in the east and in the west, I am below and above, I am this whole world.'
    Thus you can throw yourself flat on the ground, stretched out upon Mother Earth, with certain conviction that you are one with her and she with you ... For eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.
    • "The Mystic Vision" as translated in Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Great Physicists (1984) edited by Ken Wilber
  • Our mind, by virtue of a certain finite, limited capability, is by no means capable of putting a question to Nature that permits a continuous series of answers. The observations, the individual results of measurements, are the answers of Nature to our discontinuous questioning.
    • As quoted in Schrödinger: Life and Thought (1989) by Walter Moore
It is these chromosomes ... that contain in some kind of code-script the entire pattern of the individual's future development and of its functioning in the mature state.

What Is Life? (1944)

What Is Life? The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell (1944) This work is famous for introducing the idea of an "aperiodic crystal" that contained genetic information in its configuration, which inspired James D. Watson to become a geneticist and to work on the discovery of the genetic role of DNA.
  • In physics we have dealt hitherto only with periodic crystals. To a humble physicist's mind, these are very interesting and complicated objects; they constitute one of the most fascinating and complex material structures by which inanimate nature puzzles his wits. Yet, compared with the aperiodic crystal, they are rather plain and dull. The difference in structure is of the same kind as that between an ordinary wallpaper in which the same pattern is repeated again and again in regular periodicity and a masterpiece of embroidery, say a Raphael tapestry, which shows no dull repetition, but an elaborate, coherent, meaningful design traced by the great master.
  • The laws of physics and chemistry are statistical throughout.
  • It is these chromosomes ... that contain in some kind of code-script the entire pattern of the individual's future development and of its functioning in the mature state. Every complete set of chromosomes contains the full code...
  • We have just introduced the term gene for the hypothetical material carrier of a definite hereditary feature...
  • In Darwin's theory, you just have to substitute 'mutations' for his 'slight accidental variations' (just as quantum theory substitutes 'quantum jump' for 'continuous transfer of energy'). In all other respects little change was necessary in Darwin's theory...
  • How would we express in terms of the statistical theory the marvelous faculty of a living organism, by which it delays the decay into thermodynamical equilibrium (death)?... the device by which an organism maintains itself stationary at a fairly high level of orderliness... really consists in continually sucking orderliness from its environment.
The isolated knowledge obtained by a group of specialists in a narrow field has in itself no value whatsoever, but only in its synthesis with all the rest of knowledge and only inasmuch as it really contributes in this synthesis toward answering the demand, "Who are we?

Science and Humanism (1951)

  • I am born into an environment — I know not whence I came nor whither I go nor who I am. This is my situation as yours, every single one of you. The fact that everyone always was in this same situation, and always will be, tells me nothing. Our burning question as to the whence and whither — all we can ourselves observe about it is the present environment. That is why we are eager to find out about it as much as we can. That is science, learning, knowledge; it is the true source of every spiritual endeavour of man. We try to find out as much as we can about the spatial and temporal surroundings of the place in which we find ourselves put by birth…
  • It seems plain and self-evident, yet it needs to be said: the isolated knowledge obtained by a group of specialists in a narrow field has in itself no value whatsoever, but only in its synthesis with all the rest of knowledge and only inasmuch as it really contributes in this synthesis toward answering the demand, "Who are we?"
  • I consider it extremely doubtful whether the happiness of the human race has been enhanced by the technical and industrial developments that followed in the wake of rapidly progressing natural science.
  • You may ask — you are bound to ask me now: What, then, is in your opinion the value of natural science? I answer: Its scope, aim and value is the same as that of any other branch of human knowledge. Nay, none of them alone, only the union of all of them, has any scope or value at all, and that is simply enough described: it is to obey the command of the Delphic deity: gnothi seauton... get to know yourself!

Nature and the Greeks (1954)

We do not belong to this material world that science constructs for us. We are not in it; we are outside. We are only spectators.
  • I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.
Sensations and thoughts do not belong to the "world of energy."
  • We do not belong to this material world that science constructs for us. We are not in it; we are outside. We are only spectators. The reason why we believe that we are in it, that we belong to the picture, is that our bodies are in the picture. Our bodies belong to it. Not only my own body, but those of my friends, also of my dog and cat and horse, and of all the other people and animals. And this is my only means of communicating with them.
  • Science cannot tell us a word about why music delights us, of why and how an old song can move us to tears.
  • The observing mind is not a physical system, it cannot interact with any physical system. And it might be better to reserve the term "subject" for the observing mind. ... For the subject, if anything, is the thing that senses and thinks. Sensations and thoughts do not belong to the "world of energy."
  • The scientific world-picture vouchsafes a very complete understanding of all that happens — it makes it just a little too understandable. It allows you to imagine the total display as that of a mechanical clockwork which, for all that science knows, could go on just the same as it does, without there being consciousness, will, endeavor, pain and delight and responsibility connected with it — though they actually are. And the reason for this disconcerting situation is just this: that for the purpose of constructing the picture of the external world, we have used the greatly simplifying device of cutting our own personality out, removing it; hence it is gone, it has evaporated, it is ostensibly not needed.
  • In particular, and most importantly, this is the reason why the scientific worldview contains of itself no ethical values, no esthetical values, not a word about our own ultimate scope or destination, and no God, if you please. Whence came I and whither go I?

Mind and Matter (1958)

The world is given to me only once, not one existing and one perceived. Subject and object are only one.
  • The world is given to me only once, not one existing and one perceived. Subject and object are only one. The barrier between them cannot be said to have broken down as a result of recent experience in the physical sciences, for this barrier does not exist.
  • If we were bees, ants, or Lacedaemonian warriors, to whom personal fear does not exist and cowardice is the most shameful thing in the world, warring would go on forever. But luckily we are only men - and cowards.
  • There is obviously only one alternative, namely the unification of minds or consciousnesses. Their multiplicity is only apparent, in truth there is only one mind.
  • The material world has only been constructed at the price of taking the self, that is, mind, out of it, removing it; mind is not part of it...
  • Matter and energy seem granular in structure, and so does 'life', but not so mind.
  • Nature has no reverence towards life. Nature treats life as though it were the most valueless thing in the world.... Nature does not act by purposes.
  • The sensation of colour cannot be accounted for by the physicist's objective picture of light-waves.

My View of the World (1961)

Mein Leben, meine Weltansicht [My Life, My Wolrldview or My View of the World] (1961)
This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence, but in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance.
Vedanta teaches that consciousness is singular, all happenings are played out in one universal consciousness and there is no multiplicity of selves.
  • This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence, but in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is what the Brahmins express in that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear; tat tvam asi, this is you. Or, again, in such words as "I am in the east and the west, I am above and below, I am this entire world."
  • There is no kind of framework within which we can find consciousness in the plural; this is simply something we construct because of the temporal plurality of individuals, but it is a false construction... The only solution to this conflict insofar as any is available to us at all lies in the ancient wisdom of the Upanishad.
    • Chapter 4
  • Vedanta teaches that consciousness is singular, all happenings are played out in one universal consciousness and there is no multiplicity of selves.
    • Chapter 5

Quotes about Schrödinger

  • His soft, cheerful speech, his whimsical smile are engaging. And Dubliners are proud to have a Nobel Prize winner living among them.
  • You are the only contemporary physicist, besides Laue, who sees that one cannot get around the assumption of reality — if only one is honest. Most of them simply do not see what sort of risky game they are playing with reality — reality as something independent of what is experimentally established. Their interpretation is, however, refuted most elegantly by your system of radioactive atom + amplifier + charge of gun powder + cat in a box, in which the psi-function of the system contains both the cat alive and blown to bits. Nobody really doubts that the presence or absence of the cat is something independent of the act of observation.
  • The unity and continuity of Vedanta are reflected in the unity and continuity of wave mechanics. In 1925, the world view of physics was a model of a great machine composed of separable interacting material particles. During the next few years, Schrodinger and Heisenberg and their followers created a universe based on super imposed inseparable waves of probability amplitudes. This new view would be entirely consistent with the Vedantic concept of All in One.
  • Like Schopenhauer, he accepted an hierarchical view of our understanding of the world, with philosophy above and physics below.
    • Walter J. Moore in Schrödinger: Life and Thought (1989) ISBN 0521437679
  • He rejected traditional religious beliefs (Jewish, Christian, and Islamic) not on the basis of any reasoned argument, nor even with an expression of emotional antipathy, for he loved to use religious expressions and metaphors, but simply by saying that they are naive.
    • Walter J. Moore in Schrödinger: Life and Thought (1989) ISBN 0521437679

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