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Schrödinger: Life and Thought Paperback – May 29, 1992

ISBN-13: 978-0387825205 ISBN-10: 0387825207 Edition: 1st Ppbk Ed 1992

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1st Ppbk Ed 1992 edition (May 29, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387825207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387825205
  • ASIN: 0521437679
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #418,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"It is an attempt to analyze a soul, and in that respect, it surpasses even `The Double Helix' by James Watson in its examination of the most visceral drives of a great scientist." The New York Times Book Review

"What is Life? That Schrödinger knew the answer, in more ways than one, is revealed to us in this biograpy." Nature

"This is the best book available today on the life and work of Schrödinger." Times Higher Education Supplement

"It is really two books in one: a clear, elegant and complete account of Schrödinger's scientific life and achievements, and a detailed and insightful account of Schrödinger's private life." Physics Today

"...a literate, readable biography accessible to scientists and humanists alike." American Historical Review

"It is very good on the science--sometimes too good--for it does not shirk detailed expositions of Schrödinger's theories." Observer

"An unusually thorough and competent scientific biography of one of the founders of 20th-century physical absorbing account of the social and scientific culture of Europe in the period after WWI." Choice

"...full and candid story." New York Review of Books

"The quality of this biography is outstanding, and it promises to be the key authority on the life of work of Erwin Schrödinger for years to come." Science Books and Films

"...a delightfully interesting and sympathetic view of a complex and multifaceted man....This book can be recommended as one of the best scientific biographies for how veridically and sympathetically it treats its difficult, complex subject." Perceptual and Motor Skills

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
In this biography, Moore set out to tell his story.
D. Roberts
This is a masterful biography, but one need to have a profound knowledge of higher mathematics and a basic one in physics to fully understand it.
At the end of the book you feel like crying at the triumph and tragedies of this great human being.
Rama Rao

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Luc REYNAERT on June 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a masterful biography, but one need to have a profound knowledge of higher mathematics and a basic one in physics to fully understand it.

Walter Moore shows that Schrödinger's life and thought was at least controversial.

Schrödinger's personal itinerary is exemplary for the 20th century. He was born in a comfortable upper-middle class, but his parents lost their savings in the German inflation after WW I. The result was famine and diseases. It marked the rest of his life. As a young man he was confronted with unemployment and nearly left physics for financial reasons!
He found a decent job only at the age of 34. Even after winning the Nobel Prize he was still confronted with 'pension' problems.

Walter Moore gives us a magisterial and detailed analysis of the scientific discoveries of ES, from his humble beginnings to the elaboration of the quantum wave function and after.
It shows that ES was above all a mathematical genius and a not so brilliant experimenter.
ES remained all his life opposed to the complemantary (particle/wave) interpretation of quantum mechanics (the 'Kopenhagen oracle' for ES). For him, there were only waves!

Beside science, sex was the principal occupation of his life, with all combinations imaginable. He lived a ménage à trois and sometimes à quatre, but still fell in love with other women, also with very young ones for he had a Lolita complex. He could without doubt have been accused of paedophilia.
But his intense love affairs stimulated highly his scientific creativity.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By D. Roberts VINE VOICE on February 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The 20th century has boasted a greater number of top-notch physicists than any prior epoch in history. The 21st century, and any future century beyond it, will be hard-pressed to match the level of scientific genius presented by the 20th. Names such as John Archibald Wheeler, Eugene Wigner, Paul Dirac, Max Planck, Louis deBroglie, Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein, Wolfgang Pauli, John von Neumann, Richard Feynman, Roger Penrose, Freeman Dyson and Stephen Hawking have set the standard for scientific and intellectual excellence.
Another name which belongs in this esteemed list is that of Erwin Schroedinger. Schroedinger influenced the field of quantum mechanics perhaps more than any other single scientific contributor of modern times. Here, Walter Moore has compiled his unique story so that all may have access to the life and times of this extraordinary man.
Moore's writing style is easily up to the task of keeping the interest of the reader. He does an excellent job of tracing Schroedinger's academic career as he obtained posts at the university of Jena, university of Zurich, university of Berlin [he was the hand-picked successor of none other than Max Planck], university of Oxford, university of Graz (Austria), the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies and the university of Vienna. Schroedinger was also offered professorships at 2 US universities as well (university of Wisconsin, Madison and Princeton university), but declined both. Moore does an exquisite job in his disinterment of all the facts, personal factors and politics behind S' decisions to transfer (or not to transfer) from post to post.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book, is amazing. I came across it because I was forced to do a project for chemistry on Erwin Schrödinger, and I'm glad I did. It's a 512 page biography of him, and I think that says it all. It covers and extensive amount of ground, and is very useful for anyone doing any researh on the man. It gives a lot of background information about what was going on in his life, and the events in the world around him. Whenever he went to a new college, there was always some information on the college itself. If Schrödinger did research on a topic, there would be a small history on the scientist that came before him and how they affected him. The book is virtually packed with quotes form other people, letters, and speeches. One of the other things I liked was that it contained details of Schrödinger's personal life, such as his extramarital affairs and details on his marriage, and his family history. Want to see some pictures? There's that too. Bet you didn't know that Schrödinger wrote poetry. Well he did, and all of it is here too, in both German and an English translation. Another thing that makes the book stand out it that it is bery readable. Walter Moore did an excellent job writing the book, and it shows. I can say that you only need to read one book about Schrödinger: this one.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Klaus Stiefel on December 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Walter Moore captures the life of Erwin Schrödinger, one of the most important theoretical physicists of the 20th century, covering his career, science, philosophy and personal life.

In this ambitious book Moore tries to shed light on all aspects of Schrödinger's life, and tries to connect them, but no coherent picture evolves. I had the impression, however, that this is not Moore's fault, but that the pieces that made up Erwin Schrödinger did not fit into a coherent whole.

A gifted student from an early age on, he took on physics. After initially dwelling in different sub-fields, he developed wave mechanics at the (for creative work in theoretical physics) late age of 38. His almost unparalelled mathematical skills made this advance possible. Schrödinger never saw mathematics only as a tool, but he greatly appreciated it's beauty. Moore does an excellent job in describing the intellectual journey towards this discovery, as well as the giants on who's shoulders Schrödinger was standing. For this work Schrödinger received the Nobel prize in 1933.

In his later years, he dedicated a substantial part of his efforts to the search for a unified (quantum mechanics - relativity) theory of physics. Just like Einstein, with whom he had an extensive correspondence about the mater, he failed. Schrödinger's scientific work is explained in quite a bit of detail. Despite being quite familiar with differential equations, but without a background in theoretical physics, I must admit that I had a hard time following Schrödinger's insights as presented by Moore.

From his student days on, Erwin Schrödinger was a believer in the Indian teachings of Vedanta, proclaiming a one-ness of all minds, which make up reality.
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