Einstein, Schrödinger, and the story you never heard (Synopsis)

“I don’t like it, and I’m sorry I ever had anything to do with it.” -Schrödinger

Ever think that if we just pitted enough intelligence at a particular problem, we'd be bound to solve it? That was certainly the approach that two of the greatest minds in history -- Einstein and Schrödinger -- took, when it came to the very nature of our Universe.

Image credit: Benjamin Couprie, Institut International de Physique de Solvay, of the 1927 Solvay Conference. Image credit: Benjamin Couprie, Institut International de Physique de Solvay, of the 1927 Solvay Conference.

Yet no amount of intelligence will get you to the solution if you make an assumption about the Universe that isn't consistent with physical reality. In this particular case, it was the idea of determinism that proved to be the undoing of both men. Would it have been better if they could accept the Universe for what it was rather than for what they wished it would have been?

Well, there's a remarkable book out -- new, today -- that may help you answer that question for yourself.

Image credit: Paul Halpern / Basic Books. Image credit: Paul Halpern / Basic Books.

Take a look at my review of Paul Halpern's new book: Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat.


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We might at some point ask ourselves why can't we just let the wold be instead of trying to hard to figure it out using science,but i think its amazing that at least we know better about our surroundings and the discoveries of both these scientist really came through for us and i can say science is making Earth a better place to live in.

By Faith Makondo(… (not verified) on 14 Apr 2015 #permalink

If everyone just accepted that life is what it is, then we wouldn't know anything about the universe or how things work. Without questioning how we are living we wouldn't know how to keep our bodies healthy or the best things to give our body to get maximum performance out of it. We also wouldn't have many of the inventions we have today. Like the aeroplane, it was designed because two people question the flight of birds and tried to imitate it. So in my opinion the best thing one can do is question the unquestionable. Just something to think about. 15019838.

By Jarryd Outram (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

It is said that change is inevitable, which is true, but some things would have not changed for the better in life had the inquisitive minds of this two men let this universe be, science has made completing daily tasks easy, and we do so efficiently, using convenient appliances that were all invented with the knowledge and understanding of physics and other areas of science, it is a good thing to want to know , it is more good to know and even better to understand.

By DB Mokone(14336830) (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

Both of these masterminds are incredible individuals. Trying to understand the world is like trying to count the sea sand impossible, but these two men took a shot and ended up with extraordinary results. Questioning everything that surrounds you is the way to make new discoveries. Will always see them a fantastic people with determination in abundance!!

By Marcelle de Jong (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

Wow, Halpern's book is a thrill ride from cover to cover. I ordered it off amazon last week and didn't put it down until I had finished reading the riveting chronicles of the feud between Einstein and Schrodinger. I highly recommend that anyone who hasn't purchased this treasure of a book, does.

By Robert Paine (not verified) on 15 Apr 2015 #permalink

The universe is truly so big and we only understand little of it. We can however be very glad that there is at least a part of everything that we do in fact understand. Thanks to the great Scientists of the world. A great thanks to Albert Einstein and his colleagues.

By Belinda Groenewald (not verified) on 16 Apr 2015 #permalink

This is a very good example of people who are trying too hard to understand the universe. I think the universe still has many mysteries to be discovered and that we might even never be able to understand it fully. Scientists should be patient and take the universe for what it is and not what they hope it is. By taking it one step at a time we will realise that there are many discoveries yet to be made and we will start to understand this wonderful world we live in a bit better.

By Greyling N (not verified) on 16 Apr 2015 #permalink

This is a very good example of people who are trying too hard to understand the universe.

Yet you did not manage to explain why you think that, required to make anyone else do anything different.

I think you're wrong.

Where does this go now? Nowhere? Then it wasn't a worthwhile conversation and it would be better to leave the board clear for something illuminating, rather than obscure.

Scientists should be patient and take the universe for what it is and not what they hope it is.

Ah, I see. You were wanting to tell Scientists that they should stop asking questions *then answering them* because there's no room left for your mythology except with the other myths that you never ascribed to.

Ignorance is of no purpose. By wanting to remain ignorant, you make your existence purposeless.

Try doing something meaningful with your life.

If we go through life without wondering and wanting to discover new things we would be so stuck maybe even still living in caves. A lot of inventions, theories and knowledge is because of people who had a curious nature. Einstein and Schrödinger are true geniuses. Their understanding of the universe is unlike anything I have ever came across. I wish more people could understand and discover like they did, an inspiration to every young scientist.

By Ilze Dreyer u1… (not verified) on 17 Apr 2015 #permalink

These are two intelligent men. an inspiration yes!!!!!

Love these two people. A little bit of conflict between them only made the world a better place now we know more

By B Botlswell (not verified) on 17 Apr 2015 #permalink

They gave us so much to think about. more than most can understand!! love this. Very interesting!

By PG Marais (not verified) on 17 Apr 2015 #permalink

Sometimes trying to understand the universe too much can end up being bad. I think something should remain a mystery. we do not have to know everything.

By Hanely Grover (not verified) on 17 Apr 2015 #permalink

I absolutely admire these two individuals for their work. so much insight about the universe. We have accumulated much more knowledge thanks to these brilliant people. Truly mindblowing work.

By Homosapiens2015 (not verified) on 17 Apr 2015 #permalink

There is no doubt that these individuals are masterminds. Their discoveries have changed our knowledge of the world completely and in my opinion the science behind everything is one of the most interesting concepts to explore.

To an extent, i have to agree with some of the individuals who commented, expressing their concerns about trying too hard to know everything. One can ask if maybe it is better to leave some things as they are... However if i too had the capacity as these men did to understand and discover as much as they did - I would take that opportunity. There is no greater gift than knowledge and expansion of the mind. I truly believe that having an open mind is one of the most important things a person needs to successfully go through life.

By Sofia Vasconce… (not verified) on 17 Apr 2015 #permalink

Curiosity is what makes us human, isn't it? If we were not curious we would not have been able to achieve what we had. People like Einstein and Schrödinger are like mankind's perks in live.

By Stephan 15033067 (not verified) on 18 Apr 2015 #permalink

i just read this book last week. it is really terrible. it is gossipy and not at all informative. it contains very little science but a great deal about the subjects' sexual / romantic activities (both were apparently randy individuals, especially Schrodinger, though how this relates to their more cerebral actvities is not clear) . a complete waste of time. note: i should say that in complete contrast to this book, i thought that the author's book "The Great Beyond" was excellent.

By Richard Gaylord (not verified) on 21 Apr 2015 #permalink