The Schrödinger equation of quantum mechanics is probably one of the most beautiful ever conceived, because it can describe a Universe that we will never be able to see in its entirety. We didn’t invent that equation, but we just limited ourselves to discovering it by looking at the Universe from the keyhole. There is a preexistent perfection to us, scientists do not invent the Universe.
This equation describes the “wave function”, whose purpose is not to determine the exact coordinates of an elementary particle, such as an electron, but rather to define a volume of space within which that particle could be found with greater chance. This volume, which represents what is called a “probability cloud”, is technically represented by an “orbital”, and describes the energy level of a particle, which is quantized in what is called a “wave packet”.
When the scientist makes a measurement suddenly the particle is found in only one place, but between one measure and another the particle dissolves into an overlap of “probability waves” and it is potentially present in many different places in the inside of that same orbital. But as soon as the measurement is made the wave function collapses instantly, and the probability cloud materializes as a localized particle.
All this means that the wave function behaves like an iridescent soap bubble but hides something inside that we are not allowed to see. The wave function is like the surface of that bubble and the moment we pierce it with a pin it disappears leaving only a drop of water. In fact, the moment we observe – using the scientific procedure of measurement – an elementary particle we suddenly transform that soap bubble into a drop of water. This is what happens when the wave function collapses.
All this means that, in the world of elementary particles, the observer – or the one who makes a measurement – inexorably influences what is observed. But it also means that the integral structure of the Universe seen from the perspective of elementary particles is invisible to us, even if mathematically representable through a probability function.
But the particles aggregate with each other to form atoms, molecules and objects, up to the galaxies. Here then the space-time reality unfolds in our eyes in all its splendor. Yet going inland at some point there is a barrier that prevents us from seeing what in fact is an “integral reality”. Erwin Schrödinger found the mathematical code of this, but it was and remains as Braille for the blind, who read with their hands but not with their eyes. Twenty years later Hugh Everett Jr. mathematically took a pindaric flight imagining a multi-dimensional Universe that gathers all the possible realities expected from the probability cloud represented by the Schrödinger equation.
The photo above shows on the left the face of Erwin Schrödinger while the one on the right shows the back of a girl with a tattoo of the Schrödinger equation, which does not show her face: in fact the integral reality of the Universe has no face but only captivating elusive curves.