Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
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."
Prize share: 1/2
In Niels Bohr's theory of the atom, electrons absorb and emit radiation of fixed wavelengths when jumping between fixed orbits around a nucleus. The theory provided a good description of the spectrum created by the hydrogen atom, but needed to be developed to suit more complicated atoms and molecules. Assuming that matter (e.g., electrons) could be regarded as both particles and waves, in 1926 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a wave equation that accurately calculated the energy levels of electrons in atoms.