Born: 12 August 1887, Vienna, Austria
Died: 4 January 1961, Vienna, Austria
Affiliation at the time of the award: Berlin University, Berlin, Germany
Prize motivation: "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory"
Field: quantum mechanics
Prize share: 1/2
In Niels Bohr's theory of the atom, the electrons absorb and emit radiation of fixed wavelengths when jumping between the fixed orbits around a nucleus. The theory gave a good description of the spectrum from the hydrogen atom, but must be further developed for more complicated atoms and molecules. Assuming that matter, e.g. electrons, could be regarded both as particles and as waves, Erwin Schrödinger formulated in 1926 a wave-equation that accurately gave the energy levels of atoms.