"A fascinating tale of scientific endeavour... Gribbin expertly elucidates the relationships and discoveries that shaped Schrodinger's thoughts, including his lengthy correspondence with Albert Einstein, which led to the famous cat-in-the-box thought experiment... Anyone wishing to dip their feet in the muddy waters of quantum physics will enjoy this scientific soap opera. But it should be required reading for those eager to understand how the process of scientific discovery really works" --New Scientist
"The master of popular science writing" --The Sunday Times (UK)
Erwin Schrödinger is the grandfather of quantum physics -- best known for his thought experiment of a cat in a box, simultaneously dead and alive, which demonstrated the maddening absurdity of quantum physics. Author of the bestselling classic In Search of Schrödinger's Cat, John Gribbin now explores the physicist behind the box.
Erwin Schrödinger and the Quantum Revolution is a riveting biography of a giant of physics who was as passionate about philosophy and Eastern religion as he was about science, who broke social convention to the detriment of his career, and who was a reluctant revolutionary of quantum physics. Raised on the scientific tradition of the nineteenth century, Erwin Schrödinger's major contribution to the new science of the twentieth century was his masterpiece wave theory of quanta for which he received a Nobel Prize. Schrödinger remains an integral part of the new physics of the twenty-first century.
Few scientists are known as snappy dressers, but Schrödinger sometimes made Einstein look like a fashion icon. On one occasion he had trouble gaining admission to an important scientific meeting because of his bedraggled appearance. Far more problematic were his unorthodox domestic arrangements. He horrified the old-fashioned establishment at Oxford when he turned up in England with both his wife and his mistress, and he was later not considered for a job at Princeton, working alongside Einstein, for the same reason.
More than a century after the first skirmishes of the quantum revolution, it may be difficult to understand what a profound shock it was for brilliant scientists like Schrödinger and Einstein to be confronted by the specter of uncertainty at the atomic level. Gribbin creates an almost wistful picture of the solid, predictable universe understood by Newtonian physicists—a world in which immutable laws of nature governed every micron of movement in a clockwork system. How, then, could an electron be in two places at once, or move from one place to another without passing through the space between, or be in no definable place at all? John Gribbin explains the complexity of quantum mechanics, as well as the complex character of this quantum pioneer, in his signature, lucid approach that any curious mind can understand.