Nobel Medal in Physics awarded to Erwin Schrödinger in 1933
Renowned for being a founding father of Quantum Physics and widely considered to be second only to Albert Einstein in the field of theoretical physics, Erwin Schrödinger was awarded The Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933 for “the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory”.
Beyond his two most enduring legacies to quantum physics: the wave equation and Schrödinger's Cat, in 1944 he published a little book; “What is Life: The physical aspect of the living cell”. By stating that the basic principles of physics and chemistry could be applied to biology, the book inspired the work of leading microbiologists such as James Watson and Francis Crick, leading to important discoveries including the structure of DNA and later, of RNA and other biological molecules.
In addition to Schrödinger's Nobel Medal, the buyer will receive the original handwritten draft (in German) of the “Autobiographical Sketches” contained in “What is Life”, together with copies of various pertinent photographs and documents, including a copy of a note from Francis Crick acknowledging the importance of Schrödinger's little book to his and Watson's work.
Erwin Schrödinger – a brief history
Erwin Schrödinger (1887-1961) came from a Viennese family of entrepreneurs and scholars. His father Rudolf was a waxcloth manufacturer and botanist, his mother Georgine Emilia Brenda the daughter of Alexander Bauer, professor of general chemistry. After graduating, Schrödinger studied mathematics and physics at the Institute of Theoretical Physics, Vienna from 1906 to 1910, where he worked with Franz Serafin Exner, Friedrich Hasenöhrl and K.W.F. Kohlrausch.
Following the First World War, Schrödinger returned to academia, holding positions in Jena, Stuttgart, and Wroclaw, before accepting the Chair in Theoretical Physics in Zurich in 1922, a position previously held by Albert Einstein and Max von Laue. In 1925 he formulated the famous Schrödinger equation, a cornerstone of Quantum Physics to this day.
In 1927 Schrödinger left Zurich and succeeded Max Planck at the Friedrich Wilhelms University in Berlin. The seizure of power by the Nazis led him to leave Germany in 1933 and take up a position at Magdalen College, Oxford. In the same year Paul Dirac and he were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.
In 1936 Schrödinger accepted a position with the Karl-Franzens-Universität, Graz, but was dismissed in 1938 for “political unreliability” following his refusal to endorse the Nazi regime. After leaving Graz, he taught in Ghent and Rome before moving to Dublin in 1940, where he became director of the School of Theoretical Physics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. In 1956 he returned to Vienna, where he taught at the Institute of Theoretical Physics until his death.
It is fair to say that Schrödinger led a colourful personal life, in which physicist Arthur March was considerably involved. Schrödinger's daughter, Ruth, together with her husband Arnulf Braunizer and their children lived in the village of Alpbach, Tyrol, where Schrödinger spent the last years of his life and is now buried.
An extensive collection of papers and other items relating to the Schrödinger, March and Braunizer families has been loaned by the family to the Brenner Archive Research Institute. Among the most valuable items are notebooks, records, and poems by Erwin Schrödinger, as well as photographs and memorabilia (awards, orders), which, together with items included by the family from the estate of Arthur March, provide detailed insights into the family, collegial and scientific network of these two physicists as acknowledged by Ulrike Tanzer, Vice-Rector of the University of Innsbruck and Director of the Brenner Archive Research Institute.
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