Born in Vienna, Austria, Erwin Schrödinger (1887-1961) was the only child of a Catholic father and an Austrian-English Lutheran mother. He attended the University of Vienna, receiving his doctorate in 1910. For the next 45 years, he held positions at many different universities in Europe, the U.K., and the U.S., a result both of his antipathy to Nazism, as well as his unconventional lifestyle, which often involved living with multiple women at a time. After appointments at Oxford, Princeton, and the University of Graz in Austria, Schrödinger was invited in 1938 to help set up the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, where, from 1940 until his retirement in 1955, he served as the director of the School for Theoretical Physics. In addition to his groundbreaking work in physics—for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1933—Schrödinger had a lifelong interest in philosophy and Eastern religion, and his lectures and writings included discussions of such topics as consciousness, free will, and the nature of reality.
In Simply Schrödinger, acclaimed science writer John Gribbin takes the measure of this singular scientist, who stands with Einstein, Heisenberg, and Dirac as one of the creators of a new scientific reality. While the focus is primarily on Schrödinger’s particular contributions to quantum physics—including wave mechanics and wave-particle duality, as well as the famous feline—Gribbin also delves into Schrödinger’s fascination with Eastern philosophy and the other distinctive traits that differentiated him from his peers and made him who he was.
Written in a personable and accessible style that minimizes jargon and doesn’t require a degree in physics, Simply Schrödinger is a fascinating introduction to one of the giants of the 20th century, who blazed his own trail in science and in life.