As I’ve always envied Cats for their divine-like and effortless beauty and their nature. I’ve even more so envied scientific minds for their ability to see beyond what average population is able, or even more, willing to see or understand. Science is a paramount of human civilization- it helps us understand the world around us, ourselves in it, the realities different than we can perceive, and it will be or better yet has been our tool to surpass evolution in its original (untackled by human hand) form as we know it.
And it’s awesome Cats took part in it-one of the most famous being Schrödinger’s Cat.
Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger (12 August 1887 – 4 January 1961), sometimes written as Erwin Schrodinger or Erwin Schroedinger, was a Nobel Prize-winning Austrian physicist who developed a number of fundamental results in the field of quantum theory, which formed the basis of wave mechanics.(wiki)
Schrödinger was also active in numerous other science fields, but is best know in popular culture for his thought experiment involving yours truly, a CAT- his intention to explain the flawed interpretation of quantum superposition.
The Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics essentially states that an object in a physical system can simultaneously exist in all possible configurations, but observing the system forces the system to collapse and forces the object into just one of those possible states. Schrödinger disagreed with this interpretation.
So what does this have to do with cats? Schrödinger wanted people to imagine that a cat, poison, a geiger counter, radioactive material, and a hammer were inside of a sealed container. The amount of radioactive material was minuscule enough that it only had a 50/50 shot of being detected over the course of an hour. If the geiger counter detected radiation, the hammer would smash the poison, killing the cat. Until someone opened the container and observed the system, it was impossible to predict the cat’s outcome. Thus, until the system collapsed into one configuration, the cat would exist in some superposition zombie state of being both alive and dead.
Of course, Schrödinger claimed, that was ridiculous. Quantum superposition could not work with large objects such as cats, because it is impossible for an organism to be simultaneously alive and dead. Thus, he reasoned that the Copenhagen Interpretation must be inherently flawed. While many people incorrectly assume Schrödinger supported the premise behind the thought experiment, he really didn’t. His entire point was that it was impossible. (http://www.iflscience.com/)
Guess, pop culture got it wrong depicting the Cat often victorious over Schrödinger beeing consequently alive-Erwin always believed in the Cat 🙂
While it is true that modern experiments have revealed that while quantum superposition does work for tiny things like electrons, larger objects must be regarded differently.
So yeah, Cats and their quatum love of boxes broadening our horizons since 1935.
Support Cats, support Science 😀