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Quantum Mechanics

The Final Formulation of Quantum Mechanics

   

Since its birth at the hands of Planck in 1900, there was no coherent theory of quantum physics. Theories were driven by the wish to explain observations but there was no common approach. Between January 1925 and January 1928 a miraculous thing happened. Three independent and general theories of so-called 'quantum mechanics' were published – and then shown to be equivalent!

The new players were young and full of energy but from very different backgrounds – perhaps it is not surprising that they tackled the challenge of formulating a more general theory of quantum mechanics in such different ways. Werner Heisenberg hailed from Munich and was a keen mountain climber (often to avoid his dreadful allergy to pollen) as well as an excellent pianist. During his productive period and at the invitation of Bohr, he spent some time in Copenhagen as well as in Göttingen, where he worked with Born. Erwin Schrödinger worked from Zurich and eventually succeeded Planck in Berlin in 1933. Gaining inspiration from another side of nature, he was often found in the company of one of his many female companions. Paul Dirac was a different character altogether. He started to study electrical engineering in Bristol before switching to the study of mathematics in Cambridge. Dirac was extremely reclusive and spent almost his entire career working alone amongst the cloisters of St John's College.

 

Related Laureates

 The Nobel Prize in Physics 1918 - Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck »  The Nobel Prize in Physics 1922 - Niels Henrik David Bohr »  The Nobel Prize in Physics 1932 - Werner Karl Heisenberg »
 The Nobel Prize in Physics 1933 - Erwin Schrödinger »  The Nobel Prize in Physics 1933 - Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac »  
 



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