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Microbadge - Schrödinger's Cat

Creator
Kevin Purring
Canada
London
Ontario
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Name Schrödinger's Cat
Group Science Schrodinger's Cat
Num Owners 252
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Description
http://cf.geekdo-images.com/images/pic1187034_md.png Schrödinger's cat is a thought experiment, usually described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. It illustrates what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics applied to everyday objects. The scenario presents a cat that might be alive or dead, depending on an earlier random event. Although the original "experiment" was imaginary, similar principles have been researched and used in practical applications. The Cat paradox is also often featured in theoretical discussions of the interpretation of quantum mechanics. In the course of developing this experiment, Schrödinger coined the term Verschränkung (entanglement).

Schrödinger wrote:

One can even set up quite ridiculous cases. A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter, there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small that perhaps in the course of the hour, one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none; if it happens, the counter tube discharges, and through a relay releases a hammer that shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if meanwhile no atom has decayed. The psi-function of the entire system would express this by having in it the living and dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts. It is typical of these cases that an indeterminacy originally restricted to the atomic domain becomes transformed into macroscopic indeterminacy, which can then be resolved by direct observation. That prevents us from so naively accepting as valid a "blurred model" for representing reality. In itself, it would not embody anything unclear or contradictory. There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks.

Source: Wikipedia, "Schrödinger's cat", available under the CC-BY-SA License.

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