Sunday, May 10, 2015

Schrodinger's Cat

I watched a thing about Schrodinger's cat yesterday. I've heard this story a few times, and I don't understand it at all.
Here's how the thought experiment works. Schrodinger puts a cat in a box with a murder machine. The machine emits particles randomly, and there is a 50% chance that the cat will be killed by radiation. Schrodinger waits an hour, then goes back to the box.

Question: Is the cat alive or dead?

My Answer: Those are the only two options.

Official Answer: WRONG! The cat is both alive and dead at the same time! Because you don't know which one it is, until you open the box and observe the system.

And I'm sorry, but that's wrong. A cat cannot be dead and alive at the same time. That breaks the law of non-contradiction, one of the basic rules of logic. The cat is either alive or dead, and this is true, independent of you observing it. Yes, from your perspective, both outcomes are possible, but only one outcome can be true.

Now, Wikipedia says that Schrodinger agrees with me. He came up with this thought experiment, to disprove the Copenhagen Theory of Quantum Mechanics. Something like "Hey, Copenhagen people, if your theories are correct, cats are both dead and alive!". But instead of seeing this as a fundamental flaw in their system, the quantum physicists agreed that the cat is dead and alive, just like how light is a wave and a particle. And later on, someone used this to "prove" multiple universes exist. I didn't understand the multiple universe thing, because I got hung up on the fact that "a dead and alive cat" is impossible.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The title Schrodinger's Cat reminds me of the fact there is a picture of it I think in Nancy Drew The Deadly Device.

Anonymous said...

The point of the experiment is that if you open the box to check on the status of the cat, you void the entire thing. Yes, the cat is either alive or dead, but there's no way for you to find out. And the cat is going to die anyway, regardless--you just don't know when. You are right in the sense that the cat can't be alive and dead at the same time, realistically, but since there's no way for you to know you have to consider the cat as being both.

Anonymous said...

i get what theyr trying to say but i agree with you. I think whatever you learned when you said you was gonna be a priest prepared you for this like ummmmmmmmmm riddles . Riddles.