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Schrödinger's Cat

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posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 12:06 PM
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Wikipedia – Schrödinger’s Cat


Schrödinger's cat, often described as a paradox, is a thought experiment devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. It illustrates what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics being applied to everyday objects, by considering the example of a cat that may be either alive or dead, according to an earlier random event.


In the paradox proposed by Schrödinger a cat is placed within a box that contains a small amount of radioactive material which may or may not (50% chance of) decay within the time period of an hour. Should an atom of the radioactive material decay it will be detected by a Geiger counter and then through some means activate a hammer which smashes a vial containing cyanide presumably killing the poor cat.

Without opening the box and presuming we can't see inside the box with any other means how are we to determine whether the cat is alive or dead before the opening of the box at the allotted hour?


[edit on 12-6-2008 by UK Wizard]




posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 12:12 PM
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Originally posted by UK Wizard
Without opening the box and presuming we can't see inside the box with any other means how are we to determine whether the cat is alive or dead before the opening of the box at the allotted hour?


It's both.
That is to say, it's neither.

Not very clear, is it?
Welcome to the joys of quantum theory.



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 12:21 PM
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Exactly! If we are unable to determine the state of an event because we are unable to observe it then the event is by reason in both states at the same time even though from our simplified view of the universe the cat can't be both alive and dead at the same time.



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 12:25 PM
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I've never felt comfortable with this metaphor, it takes ideas from a quantum space and I believe unfairly up shifts them to apply to things outside of quantum space. Things in quantum space have properties things like cats in boxes do not.



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 12:32 PM
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reply to post by Mainer
 


Funny but I first heard of this paradox on the comedic sitcom "Big Bang", Pretty funny show



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 12:32 PM
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Yeah, wouldn't it have been better to use a more sedentary, quiet animal for the experiment?

Peace



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 12:34 PM
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What I am getting at is I think the weakness here is not the concept but in the metaphor.



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 12:35 PM
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Couldn't you just shake the box?



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 12:37 PM
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Originally posted by alaskan
Couldn't you just shake the box?


You could, but that would count as an observation, and thus collapse the eigenstate.



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 12:45 PM
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Yes, the point is that the cat, although not a quantum object exsists in a state of "quantum flux" which demonstrates the paradox. I always thought it was just a way of communicating an idea rather than a serious experiment? The particle/wave way light behaves when its not/being observed is far more interesting in my view and something i only have a limited understanding of-can anyone help out on this?



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 01:00 PM
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No offense but this is one of the dumbest thins I have ever read. This is not a paradox; this is someone just trying to sound smart.
The answer to this idiocy is you can’t, you can’t have knowledge about a subject without direct or indirect observations. Observation is how we obtain knowledge.



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 01:11 PM
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Originally posted by Mr Mxyztplk
No offense but this is one of the dumbest thins I have ever read. This is not a paradox; this is someone just trying to sound smart.


Tell that to Erwin Schrödinger...



The answer to this idiocy is you can’t, you can’t have knowledge about a subject without direct or indirect observations. Observation is how we obtain knowledge.


Did you just describe a paradox?



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 01:14 PM
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That's why the metaphor works for quantum mechanics. By observing, you effect the outcome.

Perhaps there are more interactions in play within the context of the metaphor also. Maybe the cat can be dead, alive, or some stasis in between OR.... the cat can be there, notthere. I think this works well when figuring in metaphysical observations as well.

I've always enjoyed toying with this and other though experiements. Good thread.

Cheers

[edit to wax philosophically]

LIkewise, with quantum interactions, those that observe the interactions actually change the outcome. A person with proper equipment can observe the location of a particle, or observe its probability..... perhaps it helps to think of it as a 'probability field' wherein the particle does not exist at any one location, but an array of locations, and the particle itself does not have any specific properties, but a probability that is measurable as to atomic weight, mass, etc.

Meanwhile, I'll keep my cats here at my feet where they belong. Safe, unfettered, and sleepy.

[edit on 12-6-2008 by argentus]



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 01:21 PM
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reply to post by the way
 


Yes, you have it right, and well said. It's a particle-wave duality. Observed under certain conditions, photons act as a particle. Observed in different manner, they act as waves. There are experiments that you can do yourself with cheap homemade materials that can demonstrate these ideas. Just say hey, and I'll outline them for you, if you're interested.



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 01:23 PM
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reply to post by UK Wizard
 


Dude shake the box and see if the cat meows. I mean seriously, this guy wasnt too bright.



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 01:23 PM
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Originally posted by Cadbury
Tell that to Erwin Schrödinger...

Give me his contact info and I will.



Did you just describe a paradox?

No.

par•a•dox –noun
1. a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.
2. a self-contradictory and false proposition.
3. any person, thing, or situation exhibiting an apparently contradictory nature.
4. an opinion or statement contrary to commonly accepted opinion.

Dictionary.com



I described how we come to have knowledge.
In this paradox we could presume that the cat is dead but we can not know that the cat has died.



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 01:28 PM
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Originally posted by whatukno
reply to post by UK Wizard
 


Dude shake the box and see if the cat meows. I mean seriously, this guy wasnt too bright.



Wasn't too bright? The man was a Nobel Prize winning physicist.

As PsychoHazard already so eloquently stated: "You could, but that would count as an observation, and thus collapse the eigenstate."


[edit on 12-6-2008 by Cadbury]



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 01:30 PM
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While Schrodinger truly did mean it as a simple (sort of) mental excercise, my problem with this is along the same lines as Mainers, in that it seems somewhat incomplete in it's puzzlin'.

Now I'm not a physicist or serious quantum theorist but my main concern is that it doesn't take into consideration the point of view of the cat.

For example if you were to lock me in an air tight room with the same radioactive material, hammer/poison thingy (and hey who hasn't toyed with that idea) and sit outside the room for the hour it doesn't mean I exist in both states until you open the door and observe the action.

If the experiment started at 10am and the vile broke at 10:15am and I died soon after, even though you open the door at 11 does it mean that I was in a dual state of both being alive and dead for the past 45 minutes?

Nope. Dead is dead no matter what your perception on the other side of the door may be.

The entire point of the experiment (unless I'm mistaken) presumes we live in an indeterminate universe that doesn't really exist in a physical state until it is observed.

But without taking into consideration the point of view of the cat/universal event how can this experiment be complete?

So perhaps the universe only gives the illusion of being indeterminate until observed when in fact it is not.

Sort of like fate vs. free will....hard to tell sometimes which law is in effect.

Did you choose those winning lottery numbers taking fate into your own hands or was it your fate/destiny to win the lottery?

Wow I've had far too much coffee today.

On a slightly off topic note Schrodinger is always a great name for a pet cat...just sayin'

IMO of course and as always.

spiderj



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 01:35 PM
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Erwin Schrodinger 1887-1961:

en.wikipedia.org...

Just an fyi

spider



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 01:36 PM
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It seems along the lines of

" If a tree falls in a forrest...and there is no one there to hear it...does it make a sound??"




A very old conundrum....lol





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