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Erwin Schrödinger
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Scientist
    (August 12, 1887-January 4, 1961)
    Born in Vienna, Austria
    Physicist
    Formulated the wave equation for quantum mechanics
    Co-recipient of the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics
    Best known to the public for the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment:
    A cat, a vial of poison and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box
    If an atom of the radioactive material decays, releasing radioactivity, it will trigger the breaking of the vial, poisoning the cat
    Under the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead until the box is opened
    When the box is opened, the system collapses to a definite state of either a live or dead cat
    Despite calling himself an atheist, he had an abiding interest in Eastern mysticism.
    He was rejected for positions at Oxford an Princeton, which objected to his desire to share a house with his wife and his mistress.
    He fathered children out of wedlock with at least three women, including a teenager he impregnated while working as her math tutor.
    He dressed so shabbily, he had trouble gaining admittance to a scientific conference.
    He disliked quantum mechanics' dependence on probability and said he regretted ever getting involved with it.
    Even after being drafted by the Austrian army in World War I, he sent off papers in theoretical physics from the Italian front.
    Einstein said of his wave equations, 'The idea of your work springs from true genius.'
    He resigned from the faculty of the University of Berlin to protest Nazi antisemitism.
    Schrödinger's cat crops up a lot in pop culture, including references in Futurama, Doctor Who and The Big Bang Theory.

Credit: C. Fishel


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