In the first article of this series we introduced Schrödinger's
equation and in the second we saw it in action using a simple example. But how should
we interpret its solution, the wave function? What does it tell us
about the physical world?
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.
What is light? Sometimes it seems wave-like and sometimes particle like. See how Einstein applied his theory of relativity to the problem, predicted that photons have no mass and laid the foundations for quantum mechanics.
Quantum mechanics is the physics of the extremely small. With something so far outside our everyday experience it's not surprising to find mathematics at the heart of it all. But at the quantum scale nothing in life is certain... Peter Landshoff explains.