Today’s Google logo marks the 126th birthday of Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger. Awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1933 while at the University of Oxford in England, Schrödinger is considered a founding father of quantum physics.
Google’s logo honors Schrödinger by highlighting the physicist’s two most enduring legacies to quantum physics: the wave equation and Schrödinger’s Cat. A fundamental theory of quantum mechanics, Schrödinger’s wave equation demonstrates how the wave-function of a physical system evolves over time.
Schrödinger’s Cat , a thought experiment that poses the question, “When does a quantum system stop existing as a superposition of states and become one or the other?” is a paradoxical theory Schrödinger used to criticize the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics brought forth by physicists Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, and others.
Schrödinger published several books on scientific theory including his well-known work of nonfiction What is Life? Beyond his Nobel Prize for Physics, he was awarded the Max Planck Medal in 1937 and the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art in 1957. The Austrian Academy of Sciences founded the Erwin Schrödinger Prize in 1956, giving the inaugural award to its namesake. Schrödinger also has a large crater located on the dark side of the moon named for him.
After suffering from tuberculosis throughout his life, Schrödinger died from the disease at the age of 73 in Vienna on January 4, 1961.