The Schrödinger Wave Equation and the Hydrogen Atom

  • Philip R. Wallace


In 1925, Erwin Schrödinger, drawing heavily on the experience of classical waves, introduced a wave equation for electrons, from which one could deduce their states and properties (energy, momentum, angular momentum, etc.). He applied this to the hydrogen atom with great success, determining the energy and angular momentum states of the hydrogen electron. From the energy states, one could determine the spectral frequencies; the decay of an excited state induced by heating to the ground state was accompanied by the emission of radiation of quanta whose energy was equal to that lost by the electron, and from this, the radiation frequency followed from Planck’s law. He thus correctly predicted the major spectral lines of hydrogen.


Angular Momentum Wave Equation Lower Energy State Classical Wave Angular Momentum State 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip R. Wallace
    • 1
  1. 1.McGill UniversityVictoriaCanada

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