Monday, 20 April 2015

Q Is For Cats And Quantum Physics

Today in the A to Z Blogging Challenge...

Q is Cats and Quantum Physics

Let me say from the start that my experience of science begins and ends with making crystals using salt and a Bunsen burner in the third form and everything I know about quantum physics could be written on the back of a Hadron Collider particle.

What I do know is that there is a scientific principle called Schrodinger's Cat. I am going to simplify quite considerably now.... he said that if you put a cat, some poison, a Geiger counter hitched up to a hammer and some radioactive substance in a steel box, the radioactive bit either will or won't decay. If it decays it sets in motion a reaction that will shatter the bottle of poison and the cat dies, if the radioactive bit doesn't decay, the cat lives. Like below: 






Quantum experiments had shown that the behaviour of an atom or photon was dependent upon the observer. What Schrodinger was saying is that you cannot apply this theory to everyday objects, like cats. It was all a paradox as it WAS happening with the atoms and photons. 

In other words, the cat is EITHER alive or dead, irrespective of the observer. You open the box and it's either tears and a touching funeral or the cat jumps out demanding his tea. I agree with writer Terry Pratchett who said in his book Lords and Ladies, that there was a third possible state for the cat in the box and that was "bloody furious". 

I don't know why Schrodinger was so sure that a cat couldn't be alive or dead simultaneously. It's an everyday phenomenon observed by cat owners the world over. See this picture?





This cat has "died" to punish you for some oversight or omission like accidentally throwing out his saliva-infused, stinky, half -chewed toy mouse, but as soon as you run to him sobbing uncontrollably, he will jump up and the scare the life out of you.

For those of a scientific bent, the video below explains it all:



 



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13 comments:

Donna Smith said...

It is always nice to get some good, solid scientific information as I bop through the A to Z Challenge! Yes, yes. I shall try to incorporate this new learning into my everyday life.
BTW: Noah commented on Carlton's post about the new bed. He seemed very interested in it for himself, though he was trying to figure out how to turn a laptop into a bed...I'm trying to explain that it isn't deep enough. He keeps showing me how he can lie on the keyboard... It's going to be a long day.
A to Z Challenge
Mainely Write
I, Noah Cat

Darla M Sands said...

Nice video. ~grin~ Best wishes from my kitty household to yours!

Zannie Shaman said...

I did rather hope there was going to be a definitive answer
zannierose A-Z

Birgit said...

my head is about to explode...or not:) I would rather be that kitten:)

pilch92 15andmeowing said...

I know all about Schrodinger's cat from The Big Bang Theory :)

Liz A. said...

Quantum physics and thought experiments. Those guys had too much time on their hands. (This coming from someone who has a bachelors in physics.)

That's Purrfect said...

That TV bed was wonderful, wasn't it? I guess the only thing you could do with a laptop would be to put pillow on it!

That's Purrfect said...

Aw, than you! Kitty households are the best!

That's Purrfect said...

I'm sure there's a definite answer out there somewhere! If only Einstein were still alive.....!

That's Purrfect said...

Love The Big Bang Theory - and it's very educational, of course.........

That's Purrfect said...

Science tends to fly about 10 feet above my head!

That's Purrfect said...

Bachelors in physics? You are way too intelligent for this site!!!

Mark Clough said...

I have sometimes wondered if Schrodinger would have thought there were two possible outcomes if HE was in the bunker with the gunpowder or poison gas. But then I am very literal minded, sometimes.