Erwin Schrodinger and the Quantum Revolution

| April 14, 2013 | 0 Comments

In the best-selling biography titled “Erwin Schrodinger and the Quantum Revolution” John Gribbin tells the story of one of the frontmen and leaders of the quantum revolution — Erwin Schrodinger. Schrodinger was not only an ingenious physicist, but also a serial seducer entwined in countless affairs, stories of which make this book one of the most controversial biographies in physics. So let’s have a closer look.

AuthorJohn Gribbin

Paperback: 336

Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (2013)

ISBN-13: 978-1118299265

Kindle edition: (US|UK)

Hardcover: (US|UK)

Reviews: customer reviews

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Rating: ★★★★½ Ranking: 904 US Version UK Version

John Gribbin, who is often described as one of the best living science writers, has written a number of great books about quantum physics including “In Search for Schrodinger’s Cat“, “Schrodinger’s Kittens and the Search for Reality” and “Q is for Quantum“. Thus it is no surprise that the newest book focuses on life of Erwin Schrodinger and the quantum revolution at the beginning of 20th century. In a way this book is a continuation of the earlier works of Gribbin on the history and revolutions in science, as it tells the story of how the discoveries of quantum mechanics played a crucial role in transforming our understanding of the world.

 

As a physicist Schrodinger heavily criticized the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, which was put forward by Niels Bohr and his colleagues. The main critique was that the interpretation gave results that disagreed with common sense, which was something that Schrodinger hated.  The so called Schrodinger cat thought experiment was meant to illustrate the logical flaws of the most popular interpretation of quantum mechanics. This battle with Bohr’s view of quantum mechanics, as Gribbin writes, made Schrodinger into a bit of rebel in the physics community.

Interestingly, Schrodinger wasn’t only an unconventional physicist — he was also an eccentric man. As his colleagues noticed, Schrodinger was at his creative peak only when involved into passionate affairs, which were an integral part of his life. Naturally, such a hobby led to countless cases of adultery and even illegitimate children — a more controversial side of the Schrodinger’s life, which Gribbin doesn’t shy away from in his work.

Overall, Gribbin gives a thorough overview of Schrodinger’s life from every angle. One of the greatest advantages of the book is that it doesn’t ignore technical details, which will be especially appealing to more technical readers. This is true mostly because the author is a great scientist himself. And this is especially obvious at the end of the book, where Gribbin concludes with an up-to-date overview of experimental tests of quantum entanglement, quantum cryptography and quantum teleportation.

 

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