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Schrodinger's Cat and Relativity: A Thought Experiment

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posted on Jul, 3 2009 @ 05:53 AM
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Sounds like a another version of the Chicken and the Egg scenario...

Make roast chicken and scrambled eggs at the same time then




posted on Jul, 3 2009 @ 08:11 AM
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I think the whole point is that the 'tree' may have made a noise but you wheren't there to see it, so you will never know if it did or it didn't.

This isn't the same as accepting that it did, but you weren't there.

One leaves possibilites, the other is definite.

EMM



posted on Jul, 3 2009 @ 08:20 AM
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you create a machine. you program the machine to make item X for the next ten hours. you go home and sleep while the programmed machine is making item X. you wake up and go back to collect item X which the machine was producing via its programming, while you were away. and when you get there, it's sitting right there waiting.

observation wasn't necessary for the physical processes to occur. this means either that some quantum theory is wrong or that a programmed machine making item X, is viewing the event and is therefore sentiently modifying its surroundings.




posted on Jul, 3 2009 @ 10:31 AM
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Originally posted by silverdemon71
hate to tell you this but some tried this beyond theroy with a group of boxes sealed shut some with cats in them some not the boxes were numbered and only one person knew which boxes contained he wrote down what was in each box and sealed it in a safe they had a diferent person open the boxes and write down what he found in each box i think there was 20 boxes and 10 cats well they opened the safe and compared notes and most cats were found to be dead one switched boxes one was missing not in its box or in the other boxes i read this in a book somewhere i cant find it on the internet i was kinda upset about it being i love cats


Must be an error in note-taking.

The fact that there was an observer means that the outcome had already been forced. A new observer does not change the outcome.



posted on Jul, 3 2009 @ 10:37 AM
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Originally posted by undo
observation wasn't necessary for the physical processes to occur. this means either that some quantum theory is wrong or that a programmed machine making item X, is viewing the event and is therefore sentiently modifying its surroundings.


Quantum does not demand observation!

Quantum suggests that an event only occurs when an external factor forces an outcome. Observation was never a requirement.



posted on Jul, 3 2009 @ 11:09 AM
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reply to post by Saurus
 


not according to Schrodinger's cat.

observation of light, changed the light from particle to wave ? if i'm remembering this correctly. so theoretically, quantum physics is saying observation can change the locale by changing the particles in the locale or the waves or some such.



posted on Jul, 3 2009 @ 03:54 PM
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This speaks more to the uncertainty principle than quantum theory (which to my knowledge is key in quantum physics). The only thing that can be uncertain about an event is the observer and not the subject being observed. I understand the problem with gathering data from a single perspective but how wouldn't additional observers fix that?

I understand how the cat would be both alive and dead to the outside observer but what if you had an inside observer at the same time? It could say with certainty when the cat was alive, but upon both dying simultaneously, it could not observe that the cat has died thus leaving the final observation of the inside observer to be that the cat is alive. Outside you have both possible states and inside you have a preserved wrong answer.

The cat died at an exact time as did the inside observer regardless of whether the outside observer has certainty over either. The tree fell at an exact time and made an exact sound disruption which radiated throughout the surrounding area despite no one being around to see it. An electron is in one place at one time with an exact position and momentum. Anything it would be about to interact with did not come about as a random statistic of probabilites but was set in motion well before the interaction by exact events that only happened one way. The exact way they happened are the results of exact prerequisites that could not have been anything else once the reaction occured.

There is a constant undoable aspect of change in the universe. The actual laws that we are obviously unfamiliar with do not leave room for choice of results. Once something happens, it is the only thing that could have happened. Knowing enough should allow a 100% confidence pick in that result. I understand that we haven't found a way to collect and interpret information that would allow us to predict future interactions with absolute certainty and know exactly what happened in past interactions without a direct observation but that doesn't mean it can't be done.

Let me put this in human life terms. You are trying to decide which of two shirts to wear, a black one or a white one. If you choose the black one, it is the only one you could have chose. If you choose the white one, it is the only one you could have chose. At one point, either choice is possible but at the same time they aren't because only one can happen and only one will happen. If you are going to choose the white one, there is a 0% chance of you picking the black one and a 100% chance of you picking the white one yet to an outside observer, there is a 50% chance of you picking either. In the mean time, you are not wearing a gray shirt while you decide on one or the other.



posted on Jul, 3 2009 @ 09:03 PM
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reply to post by Eitimzevinten
 


just out of curiosity but wouldn't the inside observer create the same problem? observing the light was what changed it to begin with. a second observer just means same thing. you're creating nested repeating particle -->wave, particle -->wave?



posted on Jul, 4 2009 @ 12:52 PM
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reply to post by undo
 


Lets take it out of the thought experiment phase and apply it to actual events. Anything that happened in the past is the only thing that could've happened. In hindsight, that sounds great but what about going forward? For any of the past events to occur, they needed specific set-up events within any number of systems.

These set-up events only favored the outcome that happened. So if we can find current set-up events within the number of systems that will all effect one event, we will be able to extraploate that data into a 100% accurate prediction of future events. The set-up events we see today will only favor what will actually happen in future events. To make a prediction with absolute certainty, you'd have to have accurate information of every system in the universe (both physical and conscious).

It might sound a bit difficult, but it is much more sound than an idea that natural events "chose" their outcome from likely outcomes. Don't believe me? Consider the set-up events that lead you to read this.

You're a member on ats. You didn't just wake up one day and decide, "I'm going to join a website I've never heard of". You had to look for it. You looked for it due to some interest you had in the subject matter on this site. In order to do that, the people who made this site had to make this site in the first place. In order for any of that to happen, both the people who made this site and you had to be born. For your parents to have been here, there had to be a universe, etc. I skipped a few steps near the end.

Now I could go on but you see a bunch of seemingly unrelated systems all coming together to produce an event in the universe as trivial as you reading a post on a website. That is one of the much simpler events in the universe. Any of those small set-up events could be thought to have an issue of chance involved but not when you zoom out and account for all the data related to the events. It is possible for all systems to become interconnected at anytime, this is not due to chance but instead the set-up events within those systems directly resulting in their future course.

That was a conscious system example but I assure you, the same could be said of any physical system.

Back to the cat in the box. If the energy level exists for the atom to decay, then it will at the exact time the conditions allow for it. The hammer would then fall at an exact time due to gravity and the resulting lack of pressure to keep it upright. The poison would then kill the cat at an exact time because the make-up of the poison is fatal to said cat.

The cat and scientist had to be born. The cat had to be put in a box. Whatever constitutes the make-up of the cat had to develope an uncompatibility with the poison. Gravity had to exist for the hammer to fall. The scientist had to put together several displaced information into a pattern to come up with the experiment.

All the set-up events happened with absolute certainty regardless of who or what was aware of them. Therefore, the events unfolded without any chance of happening another way due to all the set-up events in the favor of what happened. The cat dies exactly when/if the poison is released. This is the result of many systems all coming together and is completely unavoidable really. While the ongoing conscious system of the observer isn't aware of this, the numerous systems that composed this event don't need the conscious system's acknowledgement to unfold.



posted on Jul, 4 2009 @ 04:36 PM
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seems like you're over-thinking the theory. from what i read it seemed pretty straight forward. if you observe a light particle it becomes a wave. the only other solution, to my knowledge, is to assume the particle never existed in the first place and that it was always a wave.
you couldn't see it if it didn't become a wave when you saw it. whew, grammar 101. so in an effort to explain the problem schrodinger's cat was created. only way to prove it was doing what it appeared to be doing was to create a hypothetical thought experiment and it seems to have worked? maybe i'm missing something!



posted on Jul, 4 2009 @ 07:07 PM
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reply to post by undo
 


Human observation isn't flawless at gathering information. I understand the problems that come with that statement, namely the counter-intuitive idea that our observations aren't accurate observations of whats around us. If you interact with a stream of particles at a faster rate than your body can interpret them, then it will give off the illusion of a constant wave.

However, if any evidence for a particle exists, you must throw out the wave model because there are not an infinite amount of particles to constitute one constant wave of energy. A particle is a finite value and within a constant uninterrupted stream, there comes a problem with violating a particles identity. There are values within the wave that cannot be attributed to any particles. You can only have so small a distance to separate one thing and another before the difference becomes too small to be applicable in the real world. Therefore, they would either have to be two separate particles or one in the same.



posted on Jul, 4 2009 @ 09:26 PM
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The OP reminded me of a Norse myth called Loki's Wager.



Loki is a trickster god in Norse mythology, who, legend has it, once made a bet with some dwarves.[1] It was agreed that the price, should Loki lose the wager, would be his head. Loki lost the bet, and in due time the dwarfs came to collect the head which had become rightfully theirs. Loki had no problem with giving up his head, but he insisted they had absolutely no right to take any part of his neck. Everyone concerned discussed the matter; and, one could suppose, they are discussing the matter still. Certain parts were obviously head, and certain parts were obviously neck, but neither side could agree exactly where the one ended and the other began. As a result, Loki keeps his head indefinitely.

en.wikipedia.org...

It also reminds me of a theory I read a while back on time and space. You can measure the distance an object travels, but you can infinitely drill down to smaller intervals it travels. For example: You shoot a bullet through space and time (as you usually do), it will travel one foot, but not before it travels one inch, but not before it travels one centimeter, but not before...

The idea is that you cannot travel from one inch to the next, because you have to travel through an infinite amount of space to get to it!

I know... it blew my mind too...



posted on Jul, 4 2009 @ 09:36 PM
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Ah Hah! I found it. It was called Zeno's Arrow Paradox.
en.wikipedia.org...




"If everything when it occupies an equal space is at rest, and if that which is in locomotion is always occupying such a space at any moment, the flying arrow is therefore motionless."

—Aristotle, Physics VI:9, 239b5



posted on Jul, 4 2009 @ 11:15 PM
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reply to post by Avarus
 


Mathematically speaking, there is only so far you can legitimately downsize measurement wise until you hit a value that is no longer applicable. This would be the point in which the decimal place used to express the value no longer has 10 unique values at that level and all spaces afterwards have no applicable values. Let me use smaller numbers since the actual number would have quite a bit of decimal places.

Lets say 4.998 and 5.000. Inbetween the two is a value that exists mathematically but does not have anything it can attribute its value to in the real world. 4.999 cannot come into play without violating the finite identities of 4.998 and 5.000. I understand the thought process to come up with that theory. If we had really precise measuring tools, we could find the "phantom values" that seemingly exist within a larger scale of distance but infact do not. You can easily invent the number but that doesn't mean you can find an object or space to apply it to.

Its these phantom values that are being thought about in an infinite space idea. That speaks more to our number system and our ideas concerning it than it does our idea on physics. Somehow I believe you can remove any clout to that paradox with the fact that the earth is moving and some stuff about inertia. I can't really articulate it at this point because I haven't found the right way to word it. Something along the lines of the movement of the earth shortens or lengthens the actual flight and the room for this mathematic expansion and contraction come about within the phantom values.



posted on Jul, 4 2009 @ 11:31 PM
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reply to post by Eitimzevinten
 


So if I have an impossibly flat material, and I project an impossibly tiny particle at it, would it pass through the flat material? If I'm understanding your logic correctly, it will hop to points in space, and if the material is flat enough and the projectile is small enough, they could potentially never intersect...

Otherwise, there is a dichotomy paradox.



"That which is in locomotion must arrive at the half-way stage before it arrives at the goal."

—Aristotle, Physics VI:9, 239b10


Will it ever reach the goal if it has to meet every half-way stage?

[edit to add]
I also forgot to mention this is a common problem amongst us game designers/developers. If your frame rate is too slow for your object, it may pass right through your target! This just further fuels my belief that we are living in one of infinite simulations... one in which we are possibly very advanced, artificially intelligent "Extras", if you will. It makes the simulation more believable and accurate if we all have a back story.


[edit on 7.4.2009 by Avarus]



posted on Jul, 4 2009 @ 11:56 PM
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reply to post by Avarus
 


interesting.
i'd like to hear his answer to this.



posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 03:22 PM
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I'd like to start by saying that I throw out any testimony on physics by a man who once "logically deduced" that fish were spontaneously generated by rocks. This amazing theory was the direct result of human observation. My response to that is simple cause and effect. Yes it has to reach the mid point first, but after that it continues on its way because prior to reaching that midpoint, it had momentum. Momentum continued to carry after it reached the midpoint which was arbitrarily set up by an observer.

That said, this is only a mathematical issue, not a physical one. It will physically reach its goal without issue, it is when we try to break it down into various mathematical levels of distance and time that "physical problems" occur. I stated in my last post that accounting for another type of motion in the flight would ease the math or atleast so I believe. As I've said before, we add the context to our math equations and in that can lie an error when we don't put an equation in its proper context. There can be things we are not accounting for.

You're in gaming design which is just about the best possible job you could have for a discussion like this. When you design a game, you have to mathematically make it work and then the resulting physics are either "close to real" or horribly off. In the real world, all the physics are already designed to work perfectly (I'll maintain this belief until I walk up to a wall one day and discover that if I turn myself the right way, I can see through every object and wall simultaneously).

The other big difference in games, is that the physics are modeled inorder to respond to a master reference point. Are things not on the screen maintaining their perfect physical coding or will they only assume (load) their perfect physical coding once the player scans the screen over that way?

Most games have a still screen and the physics are modeled after that but in the universe, everything is moving at one time and only your reference point determines your observation of what is moving and what "isn't". This doesn't mean that your observation disqualifies the actual motion of other objects or even yourself. For proper math to result, all variables need to be accounted for.

The more variables you account for, the more accurate your answer will be but at the same time, the more values you find for an equation, the greater the margin of error due to the accuracy concerns of each of those values. This is the only true paradox we have in physics and it only happens at our end and mathematically at that. The more variables we account for, the equally more and less accurate our mathematical observation becomes. I'm not sure if this is what quantum physics is leaning towards or not. I see and understand the problem but at this point I'm not entirely sure how to fix it.



posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 09:45 AM
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seems to me this is a perfect example of functional quantum theory



posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 09:58 AM
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the problem with Schroedingers Cat is that the cat acts as an observer, as well.



posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 04:29 AM
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Originally posted by undo
you create a machine. you program the machine to make item X for the next ten hours. you go home and sleep while the programmed machine is making item X. you wake up and go back to collect item X which the machine was producing via its programming, while you were away. and when you get there, it's sitting right there waiting.

This is not an analogous situation. In your experiment a machine is programmed to produce something within a given time, and does so as predicted. No paradox there. Inside Schrödinger's Catbox, however, there is a 50-50 chance that the cat is alive at the moment the box is opened. The uncertainty is the point.

Still, you are correct when you say


observation [by a conscious entity] wasn't necessary for the physical processes to occur.

Any measuring device can be, in quantum theory, an 'observer'. The observer doesn't have to be conscious. This fact supports my view that the ultimate 'observer' is simply material reality, which explains why the latter is somewhat predictable even though quantum theory seems to imply it shouldn't be.

* * *



observation of light, changed the light from particle to wave? if i'm remembering this correctly.

Sorry, you're not. Light can be equally well described as a particle or a wave, but that doesn't mean it is either - I mean, what is a wave? It's usually a wave of something, right? A wave of water, a wave of pressure... So light is a wave of - what?

Observation doesn't change a particle into a wave. It reduces a wave function to a fixed value, which is more like the other way round, mathematically speaking, but there is no physical state change underlying this process.

Quantum mechanics is complicated even for people who have a formal education in physics. Without such an education, one really has no hope of understanding it.

* * *



Originally posted by bigfatfurrytexan
the problem with Schroedingers Cat is that the cat acts as an observer, as well.

So true.



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