Schrödinger equation

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In physics, specifically quantum mechanics, the Schrödinger equation, formulated in 1926 by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger, is an equation that describes how the quantum state of a physical system changes in time. It is as central to quantum mechanics as Newton's laws are to classical mechanics.

In the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics, the quantum state, also called a wavefunction or state vector, is the most complete description that can be given to a physical system. Solutions to Schrödinger's equation describe not only molecular, atomic and subatomic systems, but also macroscopic systems, possibly even the whole universe. [1]

The most general form is the time-dependent Schrödinger equation, which gives a description of a system evolving with time. For systems in a stationary state, the time-independent Schrödinger equation is sufficient. Approximate solutions to the time-independent Schrödinger equation are commonly used to calculate the energy levels and other properties of atoms and molecules.

Schrödinger's equation can be mathematically transformed into Werner Heisenberg's matrix mechanics, and into Richard Feynman's path integral formulation. The Schrödinger equation describes time in a way that is inconvenient for relativistic theories, a problem which is not as severe in matrix mechanics and completely absent in the path integral formulation.


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