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Schrödinger’s cat

October 13, 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

I first read about Schrödinger’s Cat when reading the book Wyrm. I find paradoxes fascinating, and a paradox about a cat that, in theory, is neither dead nor alive but, according to Schrödinger, is “mixed or smeared out in even parts” more fascinating – but not in the serial killer sense.

I want to own a cat named Schrödinger and a dog called Pavlov.

A cat is placed in a sealed box. Attached to the box is an apparatus containing a radioactive atomic nucleus and a canister of poison gas. This apparatus is separated from the cat in such a way that the cat can in no way interfere with it. The experiment is set up so that there is exactly a 50% chance of the nucleus decaying in one hour. If the nucleus decays, it will emit a particle that triggers the apparatus, which opens the canister and kills the cat. If the nucleus does not decay, then the cat remains alive. According to quantum mechanics, the unobserved nucleus is described as a superposition (meaning it exists partly as each simultaneously) of “decayed nucleus” and “undecayed nucleus”. However, when the box is opened the experimenter sees only a “decayed nucleus/dead cat” or an “undecayed nucleus/living cat.” – Wikipedia, proud sponsor of this blog.

Categories: General Chatter
  1. rjs
    October 13, 2006 at 5:24 pm

    The year I met JD4, I was in a screenwriting class and was writing a sci-fi script based loosely on the premise (see: Hypothetical Elevator). I pitched a treatment of the script to my Production Management class and, rather than talking about the actual treatment, spent 15 minutes in front of the class trying to explain the Schrodinger’s Cat concept, which I was ill prepared to explain in detail. Apparently I was given high marks for my presentation as I had “really grabbed the class’s attention by threatening the life of a cat in my pitch”.

  2. DigitalBoy
    October 13, 2006 at 6:05 pm

    OK … That’s freakin’ hilarious.

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