Analyse the contribution of Schrödinger to the current model of the atom
- In the 1920s a more detailed model was developed that could describe the wave like phenomena and particle phenomena for both light and matter. This field which developed around this model, came to be known as Quantum mechanics.
- Schrödinger formed the wave function popularly known as Schrödinger’s equation, which was one of the basis for the development of quantum mechanics.
- Solutions of Schrödinger’s equation was able to predict correctly the energy states of Hydrogen like atoms and explain the observed quantization of atomic spectra.
- This paper has been universally celebrated as one of the most important achievements of the twentieth century and created a revolution in most areas of quantum mechanics and indeed of all physics and chemistry.
- In the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, the wave function is the most complete description that can be given of a physical system. Solutions to Schrödinger’s equation describe not only molecular, atomic, and subatomic systems, but also macroscopic systems
- Max Born later showed that the wave, in Schrödinger’s wave function were not actual waves, but functions associated with the probability of finding a particle at a particular location.
- This led to a very confused understanding of what Schrödinger’s wave function is and what quantum mechanics in general means. Schrödinger famously said “ I don’t like it, and I’m sorry I ever had anything to do with it.”
- To illustrate the absurdity of the interpretation of the Schrödinger’s waves as a probability function instead of waves, Schrödinger developed his famous thought experiment, famously known as Schrödinger’s Cat experiment.
Extract from Physics Stage 6 Syllabus © 2017 NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA)