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Sean Carroll

You Should Love (or at least respect) the Schrödinger Equation

15 Aug 2016, 22:28 UTC
You Should Love (or at least respect) the Schrödinger Equation
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Over at the twitter dot com website, there has been a briefly-trending topic #fav7films, discussing — you guessed it — your favorite seven films. Part of the purpose of being on twitter is to one-up the competition, so I instead listed my #fav7equations. Slightly cleaned up, the equations I chose as my seven favorites are:

In order: Newton’s Second Law of motion, the Euler-Lagrange equation, Maxwell’s equations in terms of differential forms, Boltzmann’s definition of entropy, the metric for Minkowski spacetime (special relativity), Einstein’s equation for spacetime curvature (general relativity), and the Schrödinger equation of quantum mechanics. Feel free to Google them for more info, even if equations aren’t your thing. They represent a series of extraordinary insights in the development of physics, from the 1600’s to the present day.
Of course people chimed in with their own favorites, which is all in the spirit of the thing. But one misconception came up that is probably worth correcting: people don’t appreciate how important and all-encompassing the Schrödinger equation is.
I blame society. Or, more accurately, I blame how we teach quantum mechanics. Not that the standard treatment of the Schrödinger equation is fundamentally wrong (as other aspects of how we ...

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