Comparing the Bohr and Schrodinger Model of the Hydrogen Atom

The Bohr and Schrodinger models of the hydrogen atoms make some predictions in common. The most important of these is that the principle energy levels are given byIn both models angular momentum is quantized, but in the Bohr model it a postulate of the model without any theoretical justification, while it arises naturally from the Schrodinger model. The Schrodinger model makes many predictions, since verified, and explains much about the hydrogen atom that the Bohr model could not. The main points of both models are given in the table.


Bohr Model

Schrodinger Model


The angular momentum of electrons in the atom occurs (is quantized) in integral multiples ofwhere Planck's constant

The electron is assumed to be a wave. Quantization arises naturally as a whole number of wavelengths needs to fit in a single orbit.

Ease of Use

Quite simple to understand and use.

The maths is very difficult and the model is much harder to understand. Higher level maths is required.


Unable to explain fine structure in the energy levels, and can not be applied to heavy atoms – atoms with more than one electron.

Model works in principle for all atoms, though for heavy atoms, the solutions are found numerically with the aid of computers. This is primary due to the electrons acting as waves interfering with each other.


Predicts the principle energy levels with accuracy.

Predicts all hydrogen energy levels accurately.


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