Jennifer Ouelette at The New York Times:
On a cold January day in 1947, Erwin Schrödinger took the podium at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin and triumphantly announced that he had succeeded where Albert Einstein had failed for the past 30 years. Schrödinger said he’d devised a unified theory of everything that reconciled the general theory of relativity with quantum mechanics. His announcement caused a sensation in the international press, which shamelessly played up the David and Goliath angle, much to Schrödinger’s discomfort and Einstein’s irritation. It nearly destroyed their longstanding friendship. Matters became so acrimonious at one point, with rumors of potential lawsuits, that another colleague, Wolfgang Pauli, stepped in to mediate. A full three years would pass before the estranged friends gingerly began exchanging letters again.
This tale of two physicists, their shared quest for unification and the media frenzy that tore them apart is the focus of Paul Halpern’s latest book, “Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat.”
The men were natural allies. Both were Nobel laureates, recognized for foundational work in the earliest days of quantum mechanics. Each had a strong philosophical bent, which shaped his worldview.