New research ties the warping of large-scale disks of material in the universe with the Schrodinger equation, which describes the quantum mechanical behavior of atomic and subatomic objects.

(James Tuttle Keane/California Institute of Technology)

Enormous disks of stars or debris can operate under the same rules as subatomic particles, changing based on the Schrodinger equation, which physicists use to model quantum-mechanical systems.

"I was expecting the regular wave equation to appear, something like the wave of a string or something like that.

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Using the Schrodinger equation, physicists can interpret the interactions of systems on atomic and subatomic scales in terms of waves as well as particles — a key concept in quantum mechanics that describes those systems' sometimes unintuitive behavior.