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What was Schrodinger's interpretation of his own equation?

  1. Aug 6, 2013 #1
    I have heard that Schrodinger's interpretation of his equation is different from the modern interpretation. What was Schrodinger's interpretation of his own equation and what did he think ψ represented?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2013 #2
    He gives his interpretation towards the end of his fourth paper.

    Of course, I'm sure his views were rapidly evolving at the time (the paper was received in June, 1926). He does make a point that this interpretation makes the one-electron problem looks weird, but but not to interpret the wave-function as a function on real-space, but on configuration space.
  4. Aug 7, 2013 #3


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    In his first talks (1926) to Bohr, Pauli, Heisenberg, Sommerfeld et al. some - including Schrödinger - tried make a strong point for continuous wave mechanics and against Heisenberg's matrix mechanics; he wanted to return to well-established classical physics and to make quantum jumps, uncertainties etc. go away. Born's probability interpretation was not yes established (~1927)

    See Heisenberg: The Part and The Whole (Der Teil und das Ganze)
  5. Aug 7, 2013 #4
    As another interesting historical note to go with the above regarding the Born interpretation, my collection of Schrödinger's papers contains one from December, 1926 where Schrödinger refers to Born's statistical interpretation (with citations to Born, Dirac and Gordon) as "a renunciation, much too fundamental in principle, of all attempt to understand the individual process." (The translator seems to have done an especially bad job here). It also contains a paper from June, 1927 admitting that's Born's idea solves a lot of problems but he has his own prejudices against it.
  6. Aug 7, 2013 #5
    This quote seems to give insight into his thinking:

    "[On quantum mechanics ]I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it."

    He coined the Schrodinger's cat paradox as he wasn't happy with the CI.
  7. Aug 7, 2013 #6


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    Schrödinger was one of the few early realists who abandoned the particle picture in favour of the wave picture. While de Broglie -and later on Bohm- interpreted the wave function as a pilot wave which guides the particle and while Einstein saw QM simply as an incomplete effective theory, Schrödinger was led to a more Many Worlds like picture of QM in his later years by ascribing reality only to the wave function.

    Unfortunately, there's not much literature about this. There's a book by Michel Bitbol called Schrödinger's Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics which captures Schrödinger's evolving view, but it is a wearisome read for physicists because of (too) much philosophical baggage (I have read only excerpts).
  8. Aug 7, 2013 #7
    Kith, what do you mean by "too much philosophical baggage"?
  9. Aug 7, 2013 #8


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    Just click the link in my previous post and read a couple of pages. Although the author has a PhD in physics he is mainly a philosopher and his writing seems bloated to me. I put the "too" of "too much" in parenthesis because maybe people with a more formal education in philosophy may disagree.
  10. Aug 8, 2013 #9
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