Is Schrödinger's Cat The Most Famous Cat In Science?

generic Nov 01, 2021 0 243
ugochukwu Franklin Amadike @ugochukwu
Is Schrödinger's Cat The Most Famous Cat In Science?
Is Schrödinger's cat the most famous cat in science?

In Erwin Schrödinger's famous thought experiment he imagined a cat in a box together with a radioactive source. Alongside the cat would be a radiation detector which, upon registering a radioactive decay, would cause a hammer to fall and break open a flask of deadly poison that would kill the cat immediately.

The radioactive source would be selected to have a quantum mechanical probability of 50% to decay per hour. After one hour, it would be equally likely that the cat would be alive or dead. According to Max Born's interpretation of quantum mechanics, exactly one hour after this macabre experiment began, the box would contain a cat which is neither alive nor dead but rather in a mixture of these two states.

In the language of quantum mechanics, the cat's wave function is a superposition of the 'dead' and 'alive' wave functions. Schrödinger thought this made the probabilistic interpretation of his theory a nonsense! Born retorted that as soon as the lid on the box is lifted so we can observe the cat, the act of observation collapses the two possible wave functions into a single one, causing the cat to be definitely dead or alive. Despite his misgivings, Schrödinger shared the 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics with Dirac for his work on formulating new theories of quantum mechanics.

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