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Самое непостижимое в этом мире - то, что он постижим.

Альберт Эйнштейн

В науках мы ищем причин не столько того, что было, сколько того, что могло бы быть.

Томас Гоббс










Geniuses of XX century:
Erwin Sсhrödinger

In August 12, 2007 120 years have passed from the birthday of Erwin Schrödinger, the Austrian physicist-theorist, one of the creators of quantum mechanics and, without exaggeration, one of the most outstanding physicists in XX century. The greatest E. Schrödinger's achievement was elaboration of the most adequate and efficient from the applied viewpoint variant of quantum mechanics which basis was the wave equation suggested by Schrödinger in 1926 and bearing his name. This differential equation for the wave function thought by Schrödinger defines entirely the change in the states of quantum systems in the course of time. For nascent quantum mechanics, Schrödinger equation was of the same importance as Newton equation for classical mechanics or Maxwell equation for electrodynamics. These basic equations reflecting the nature laws could not be deduced mathematically, they were found by genius of their creators. We thus have the right to put the name of E. Schrödinger in one row with these great names of creators of physics.
Schrödinger equation illustrated clearly the nature of corpuscular-wave dualism of material world postulated by de Broglie. Schrödinger is said to devise this equation in searching for the method of setting forth intelligibly his students the matter of the famous article written by Louis de Broglie "Investigation into theory of quanta" (1925) which was presented to him by Peter Debye. Although in 1925 W.Heisenberg, M.Born and P.Jordan had already elaborated so-called "matrix mechanics", it was Schrödinger equation which was marching triumphally along many fields of physics and chemistry in XX century and became the basis for penetrating into them the concepts and methods of quantum mechanics. One of the first impressive results of the employment of Schrödinger equation was the complete calculation of energetic levels of a hydrogen atom. Hereafter this equation allowed the explanation and the prediction of a number of phenomena in atomic physics, and the first principle calculation of general energetic and spectral characteristics of atomic systems measured before experimentally. Schrödinger equation proved to be rather efficient for description of many phenomena in nuclear physics, such as α -decomposition, γ - radiation of nuclears, neutron scattering at nuclei etc.
However, Schrödinger quantum mechanics employed in theory of solids and quantum chemistry, which are of outstanding importance as a scientific basis for synthesis of new substances and creation of new materials, gave the most prominent and basic results. Based on the concepts of Schrödinger quantum mechanics, the quest for the understanding of general regularities of interrelation between structure and properties of substances and materials became a general paradigm of theoretical materials science in XX century. It was supported and developed actively by outstanding scientists, I.N.Frantsevich and G.V.Samsonov at Institute for Problem of Materials Science of NANU.
Schrödinger's genius was not restricted to only physical problems, it took a fancy to searching for the answer a principal question of natural science, the question of the nature of living matter and a possibility to interpret physiological processes on a basis of physics. In 1945 Schrödinger wrote an excellent book about the relation between physics and biology (E. Schrödinger “What is life from the physical viewpoint”, 1945). It is conceivable that active contacts with outstanding geneticists including N.V.Timofeev-Resovskiy instigated him to write this book. In this book E.Schrödinger showed convincingly the role of quantum mechanics in formation and stability of biologically active molecules considered as an aperiodic crystal, and substantiated systematically the materialistic approach to the explanation of the life phenomenon on a basis of physical and physico-chemical laws.
The name of Erwin Schrödinger will always remain among the names of coryphaei in science, and his quantum mechanics will remain as before the basis for cognition of nature and quantitative description of phenomena and processes occurring in infinitely diverse micro-world.

Academician V.V.Skorokhod
Institute for Problems of Materials Science of NAS,
Kiev Ukraine
October 2007