Ripples on a pond, the swell of ocean waves, your favourite song – these can all be described using sine waves. But how do we describe a sine wave?
In the previous article we introduced Schrödinger's equation and its solution, the wave function, which contains all the information there is to know about a quantum system. Now it's time to see the equation in action, using a very simple physical system as an example. We'll also look at another weird phenomenon called quantum tunneling.
In the 1920s the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger came up with what has become the central equation of quantum mechanics. It tells you all there is to know about a quantum physical system and it also predicts famous quantum weirdnesses such as superposition and quantum entanglement. In this, the first article of a three-part series, we introduce Schrödinger's equation and put it in its historical context.
According to Einstein, the past, present and future have exactly the same character - so why do we feel that there is a particular moment we call "now"? The physicist George Ellis looks for an answer in the curious laws of quantum mechanics.