What is the characteristic feature of life? When is a piece of matter said to be alive? When it goes on ‘doing something,’ moving, exchanging material with its environment, and so forth, and that for a much longer period than we would expect an inanimate piece of matter to ‘keep going’ under similar circumstances.

Erwin Schrödinger

Born: August 12, 1887

Died: January 4, 1961 (Age 73)

Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger was a Nobel Prize-winning Austrian physicist who developed a number of fundamental results in the field of quantum theory, which formed the basis of wave mechanics: he formulated the wave equation (stationary and time-dependent Schrödinger equation) and revealed the identity of his development of the formalism and matrix mechanics. Schrödinger proposed an original interpretation of the physical meaning of the wave function.

In addition, he was the author of many works in various fields of physics: statistical mechanics and thermodynamics, physics of dielectrics, colour theory, electrodynamics, general relativity, and cosmology, and he made several attempts to construct a unified field theory. In his book What Is Life? Schrödinger addressed the problems of genetics, looking at the phenomenon of life from the point of view of physics. He paid great attention to the philosophical aspects of science, ancient and oriental philosophical concepts, ethics, and religion. He also wrote on philosophy and theoretical biology. He is also known for his “Schrödinger’s cat” thought-experiment.

Available Documents: 3

Mind and Matter
Lecture
1956
25,140
2,284
Based on the Tarner Lectures delivered at Trinity College in Cambridge, Mind and Matter is Erwin Schrödinger's investigation into a relationship which has eluded and puzzled philosophers since the earliest times.
My View of the World
Book
January 2, 1951
29,735
399
A Nobel prize winner, a great man and a great scientist, Erwin Schrödinger has made his mark in physics, but his eye scans a far wider horizon: here are two stimulating and discursive essays which summarize his philosophical views on the nature of the world. Schrödinger's world view, derived from the Indian writings of the Vedanta, is that there is only a single consciousness of which we are all different aspects. He admits that this view is mystical and metaphysical and incapable of logical deduction. But he also insists that this is true of the belief in an external world capable of influencing the mind and of being influenced by it. Schrödinger's world view leads naturally to a philosophy of reverence for life.
What Is Life? The Physical Aspect of the Living Cell
Book
1944
26,421
178
This book was based on a course of public lectures delivered by Schrödinger in February 1943, under the auspices of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies at Trinity College, Dublin. The lectures attracted an audience of about 400, who were warned "that the subject-matter was a difficult one and that the lectures could not be termed popular, even though the physicist’s most dreaded weapon, mathematical deduction, would hardly be utilized." Schrödinger's lecture focused on one important question: How can the events in space and time—which take place within the spatial boundary of a living organism—be accounted for by physics and chemistry?




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