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* 12. 8. 1887, Vienna, Austria
† 4. 1. 1961, Vienna, Austria


S. was born in 1887 to manufacturer Rudolf S. and his wife Georgina in Erdberg in Vienna. His father owned a factory for the manufacture of povcerecloth and linoleum. After finishing the academic grammar school he enrolled in the study at the Physical Institute of the University of Vienna for the fall semester of 1906 under Fritz Hasenöhrl, who at that time took over the professorship in the Department of Theoretical Physics. In May 1910 S. finished his studies with his experimental physics doctoral dissertation called About installation of electricity to isolated areas in the moist air (Über die Leitung der Elektrizität auf der Oberfläche von Isolatoren an feuchter Luft). In the forthcoming years he among other things wrote papers on radioactivity and atmospheric electricity. On 17th October 1912 Erwin Schrödinger achieved habilitation with paper on enamelling processes in solid bodies.
Since he could not find any appropriate work after the war, he moved from Austria after marrying Annemarie Bertel (born in 1896) and shortly afterwards worked at various places in Jena, Stuttgart and Breslau. In 1922 he moved to the University of Zürich, where he read Louis De Broglies’ thesis in October 1925. De Broglies wrote the hypothesis that the circulation of electrons around the nucleus of an atom is a wave phenomenon and he found an elegant way to explain the existence of stationary orbit in the Bohr model of the atom.
In a series of articles Quantization as an Eigenvalue Problem (Quantisierung als Eigenwertproblem) S. developed a method to describe the particles of matter through the wave equation and thus justified the wave mechanics, which can describe not only the atoms and molecules, but all nonrelativistic physical systems in general. He also proved that the Heisenberg's matrix mechanics is equivalent to his wave mechanics. S. received the Nobel Prize in 1933 for these merits.
Given the physical interpretation of wave function, S. represented the philosophy and claimed it was necessary to recognize its direct physical reality. The conception of a wave function as a probability of specific mass, developed by Max Born, was discarded by him. In order to demonstrate that its strict application leads to absurd conclusions, under the pseudonym "S.’s cat" S. performed a thought experiment in 1935. This, however, could not prevent the most famous physicists of the time to follow Born’s conclusions. In the summer of 1927 he succeeded Max Planck at the Humboldt University in Berlin at the Department of Theoretical Physics. Max Laue, Lise →Meitner, Fritz London and of course Albert Einstein were in his new circle of colleagues. In 1933, however, S. decided to leave Germany; he disliked the Nazis' anti-semitism. He spent the following three years at Magdalen College at the University of Oxford, where he was invited by the British physics professor Alexander Lindemann. In 1936 he left for University of Graz, but the university dismissed him from his job for political unreliability after the German annexation of Austria in 1938. In 1939 he received an invitation to help establish an Institute for Advanced Studies in Dublin by Irish Prime Minister Éamon de Valera. In 1943 S. wrote a series of lectures “What is life?” which contained the influence of X-rays at different mutational stages of wine flies. He considered a gene in accordance with the laws of physics as a macroscopic system and explained its long-term stability with the fact that it does not follow the law of statistics. Therefore, it cannot be in liquid state or otherwise made up of a large number of independent component particles, but one should picture it as a small stable body. In that way he found the proof only from the physics principles, namely, that a gene is nothing more than a special and very large molecule. He also explained that without quantum we cannot achieve a full understanding of the heredity phenomenon and thus providing a link between physics and biology, which science had not discovered until then. In the book edition of What is life? S. wrote: "In these chromosomes ... in the form of a code there is a comprehensive model of the future development of the individual and his activity in mature age. Each set of chromosomes contains the complete code ...At the same time they are the code and executive authorities, the plan of architect and master craftsmen". With this he established the idea of the genetic code in modern biology. The book launched a wave of enthusiasm and a wide range of scientists took his thinking positively, among them James Watson and his colleague Francis Crick, who declared that only reading What is life? led them to the field of molecular biology. Maurice Wilkins, whose exploration of deflection exceptions in X-ray in 1953 contributed significantly to explanation of the double helix structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, was also influenced by S. and he began to deal with fundamental biological research. Although S. did not pay great attention to particular religious communities and religions in general, he felt the need for spirituality and he had dealt with metaphysical questions his whole life. His main interest in this field was an old Indian philosophy, which became part of his belief. Because of it he understood the world as a unit and for many years he worked to find a unified field theory. In 1943 the equations of general relativity were changed by him so that both gravitational laws as well as laws of electrical magnetism could be drawn from them. S.'s approach led to general form of the conventional electromagnetic theory which states that the photon must have a static weight that is different from zero. He had to give up the experimental confirmation of his predictions, as the available geophysical measurements data and observations of the Sun proved to be insufficient. A 1947 attempt was also unsuccessful. Einstein had the same problem in 1923. He found that the S.’s theory including unimportant supplements equals his theory and it leads to a dead end.
After World War II S., who had meanwhile already been given Irish citizenship, grew more and more intensive contacts with the old homeland. In the winter semester of 1950 he came at the University of Innsbruck as a visiting professor and was one of the most prominent defenders of the European Forum in Alpbach, which was annually held in the summer. In May 1955 he attained professor's position at University of Vienna, which he formally took over on 13th April 1956 with an introductory lecture on the Crisis on the concept of an atom. He later lectured on general relativity and evolution of the universe. In addition he organized a seminar taking place every week. He retired and ended his academic activity in 1958.
In winter of 1959/60 he was mainly occupied with his book My Life - My View of the World (Mein Leben – meine Weltansicht). In the first part of the book he included an unpublished autobiographical essay and in part two of this book he dealt with the question "What is real?". He also debated and declined the contrast between spirit and matter, which was often mentioned in Western philosophy.

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