Erwin Schrödinger was a renowned physicist who made significant contributions to the field of quantum mechanics. He was born on August 12, 1887, in Vienna, Austria, and later moved to Berlin and Zurich.
In 1926, Schrödinger introduced a wave equation that revolutionized the atomic theory. Let’s dive into the details of his contribution to the atomic theory.
Schrödinger completed his doctoral thesis in physics at the University of Vienna in 1910. After that, he worked as an assistant to Franz Exner at the same university. Later on, he worked as a professor at various universities such as Stuttgart, Breslau (now Wrocław), Zurich, and Berlin.
The Atomic Theory Before Schrödinger
Before Schrödinger’s wave equation, scientists believed that electrons in atoms move around the nucleus in circular orbits like planets around the sun. This theory was proposed by Niels Bohr in 1913 and was known as Bohr’s model of the atom.
However, this model had some limitations. One significant problem was that it failed to explain why electrons do not lose energy while moving around the nucleus.
Schrödinger’s Wave Equation
In 1926, Schrödinger introduced his wave equation that described how electrons behave in atoms. His equation explained that electrons do not move around the nucleus like planets but rather exist in orbitals or probability waves.
These orbitals are three-dimensional regions where there is a high probability of finding an electron. The wave equation provided a more accurate description of atomic behavior than Bohr’s model.
The Significance of Schrödinger’s Wave Equation
Schrödinger’s wave equation provided a new way of understanding the behavior of electrons in atoms. It allowed scientists to predict the behavior of electrons with greater accuracy than before.
The wave equation also provided a basis for the development of quantum mechanics, which is a fundamental theory that describes how particles behave at the atomic and subatomic levels. It opened up new areas of research in physics and chemistry, leading to significant technological advancements.
Erwin Schrödinger’s contribution to atomic theory was significant. His wave equation revolutionized the field of quantum mechanics and provided a more accurate description of atomic behavior than previous models. Through his work, Schrödinger opened up new areas of research in physics and chemistry, leading to significant advancements in technology.