Schrodinger`s Cat Explained?

Submitted by: 5cats 5 years ago Science

Schrodinger"s cat is an icon of modern physics - but what is it exactly? Hooray for cats and thought experiments.
There are 89 comments:
Male 2,788
There`s another video on youtube that explains it better in a fraction of the time.
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Female 781
Yeah, my dad explained this to me when I was a child. What makes the thought experiment so cool is that it`s so easy to understand the concept of it, but it`s impossible to "solve."
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Male 18
If the cat goes in dead- the cat cannot gain the potential to be anything other than what it is- if live, the cat is a potentially dead cat. Potential DNE- the chicken came first- the egg is merely a potential chicken.
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Female 3,696
dammit, Sheldon explained this once on BBT so well, but I can`t rememmmbbeer..it onlu took 2 minutes, not 8. =(
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Male 21
The cat is a lie!
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Male 734
I can`t take him seriously, he needs to get a haircut.
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Female 192
"...then moved to dublin where he had a very colorful career, and even father an illegitimate child. But that has nothing to do with his cat."

...am I the only one who found this hilarious?
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Male 5,413
I love this theory and to see `Prof` talking about this. Watch this channel often on YouTube.
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Female 4,039
If you could start with the cat alive or dead, why even put a cat in there in the first place? Did I hear that part wrong?
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Male 2,855
PETA should oppose this
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Male 295
Yaaay physicists with funky hair are always awesome.
Perhaps some day I will be a physicist with funky hair...
I`ve always liked this experiment.
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Female 2,525
Thought so, Burton_Ian. Thanks for clearing that up.
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Male 392
Quantum uncertainty hurts my brain
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Male 38
Here`s an easier experiment: Flip a coin, shoot the cat.
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Male 815
Bunny, upon accepting a position as a theoretical physicist it is a term of their contract that they must have ridiculous hair.
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Female 2,525
Are physicists required to have crazy mad scientist hair or is that just a popular look among them?
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Male 92
"...fled to the UK then to Dublin where he had quite a colorful career, and even fathered an illegitimate child; but that has nothing to do with his cat." Oh quite the contrary professor... I think that has EVERYTHING to do with a cat.
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Female 1,515
Epic hair is epic and looks like pmarren is inhabiting BaconMaster`s soul
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Female 857
Finally! I get it! I thought I was missing something, the whole point is that it`s not supposed to make sense. I got completely lost with the 2 slot test last week. I came to the conclusion that there must be two protons in the tube to start with. But the point is we can`t completely define quantum objects...there is a grey area.
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Male 14
Thought experiment? The hell with that; how about a REAL experiment? I`ll take a box and put a goddam cat in it, then I`ll pulverize it with a 4-iron. I can conclude with 100% accuracy that the cat will be dead... an I will not even have to open the door on the box to find out.

Cats = Suck
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Male 476
@ Schr0dinger - You should add yourself to your list!
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Male 508
There are two observers in Schrodinger`s experiment, the cat and the detector.
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Male 605
Man, I love thought experiments.
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Male 17,512
5cats [quote]It might be that teeny-tiny bits of matter can exist in dual-realities, but not kitties.[/quote]

Sure they can, with catnip!

:-)
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Male 476
Ok... This would be like.. if you put a murderer and a negotiator in a box.. will the negotiator talk his way out of being murdered, or will he be killed. You wont know until you open the box!!! This is soooo facsinating!!!
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Female 127
Everyday objects such as cats- lol :P
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Male 2,553
Schroedinger: So, to summarize, I want to put a Mr. Whiskers in a box and spend one hour not knowing whether Mr. Whiskers has been reduced to pulp or not.
Einstein: Hey, why not spend the same hour wondering whether Mr. Whiskers has been pulverised, letting his cat intestines plaster the walls, let cat blood cover every inch in the box`s inside space, and have tiny bits of cat skull and bones cover the floor of said box.

Anyone but me think Einstein had a problem with cats?
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Male 16
This dude has awesome hair!

btw, physisists must be horrible at grocery shopping. As soon as they place the groceries in the fridge and close the door, they`re like: oh poo! is it still in there? and then they have to buy some more.... just to be sure.

Just another reason not to be a physisist, besides having to study physics and chemistry and that bullpoo...
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Male 1,010
No matter what, Schrödiger explained the consept in a fabolous way. Even back then, lang before the internet, Schrödiger knew: cats: WINNING!
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Male 3,076
[quote] you could never make the sun disappear [/quote]

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Female 277
So it`s just a guy shutting cats in boxes and poisoning them. sick man
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Male 257
they have a youtube channel called sixty symbols, it`s pretty cool nottingham has a whole series of channels the crazy haired man is from the chemistry channel called periodic videos
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Male 430
But the cat can observe if it is dead or alive.
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Male 838
For some reason, I read the title and thought that someone had managed to prove or disprove the cat dilemma. Disappointment much.
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Male 590
"i thought einstein was clever, that`s a stupid idea!" - perfect ending
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Male 914
The Copenhagen interpretation is so 1929. MWI is where it`s at.
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Male 254
i gave this a 4 star rating just because of that dude`s afro.
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Male 1,081
Epic hair.
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Male 255
Ohh and that dudes hands talking was atrocious. Its like they weren`t his hands
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Male 255
@volsunga

I think I know what you are talking about. on tv they discovered on the slit exp. then when the atoms were being observed it seemed like the (atoms?) actually responded to being viewed.
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Female 1,205
those hands are not his hands...beware the HANDS!
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Male 359
"sound only exists as a neural interpretation of said waves."

Dumbest post ever! I have taught HS kids that know better.

"why cant tehy just observe whther the glas has been broken"

The cat creates emotional bait and makes the experiment have a "sad" consequence. Oh and spellcheck is your friend...jesus.

"We now have an ACTUAL experiment that demonstrates the concept much easier and without all the problem of the cat`s thought experiment."

Yes several. Your point?

"Instead of re-hashing an re-re-rehashing the same old same old same old over and over and over, why not come up with a better theory?"

Agreed sir! Please mystify us all with your own EPOCH SHATTERING thought experiment that is almost 100 years ahead of its time. We`ll wait.

"i had the same conundrum when i put my dick in a box."

And there is the thread winner. (+5 internets) <
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Male 270
Whats up with his hair? xD
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Female 24
"...where he fathered an illegitimate child. But that has nothing to do with the cat."

Or does it?
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Male 480
"I thought einstein was clever, but that`s a stupid Idea!"
my favorite part of the video
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Male 1,222
So basically, one thing is or isnt, and it doesnt depend on us looking at it.
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Male 265
I didn`t hear a word the guy in the glasses was saying, I was too busy listening to his accent.
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Male 2,402

I have the answer.

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Male 36,410
[quote]why do they even need a cat? - the_phantom[/quote]
Everyone needs a cat! lolz! But really, because the cat cannot be "both alive and dead" at the same time, it`s either one or the other, never both. It might be that teeny-tiny bits of matter can exist in dual-realities, but not kitties.
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Male 4,290
duffytoler: whatever makes you think quantum mechanics research stopped at Schrodinger`s Cat? Just because the laymen like us haven`t heard of stuff that`s happened since doesn`t mean they`ve been slacking.

I would bet that more people have heard of the Rutherford model of the atom than the Bohr model. And probably even more people remember JJ Thompson`s "plum pudding" model than the Rutherford model, because it tends to stick in the brain with a name like that.

Popular knowledge is, sadly, not an accurate measurement of current scientific knowledge.
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Male 1,598
It took over 7 minutes to explain this...
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Male 4,290
[quote]Sorry to be picky, but if it`s a silent video there would be no way to prove that the sound caused the movement [/quote]
OK, yes, but you get the point. Sound waves cause movement, and it is experimentally verifiable.

Sound is not just "that which is heard by animals". For starters, which animal?

We have a far smaller hearing range than plenty of other animals, around 20Hz - 20kHz. But dogs can hear around 40Hz - 60kHz. So either we pick humans as the definition, meaning what dogs are hearing up there in the >20kHz range isn`t sound (absurd by this definition), or we take the dog range which means sound exists that we can`t hear (again, absurd when you`re defining sound as "that which is audible").

The same logic process can be applied to any animal, which is why we don`t use this definition. Instead we define sound as the propagation of pressure waves through a medium. And that definition does not require an observer.
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Male 3,061
i had the same conundrum when i put my dick in a box.
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Male 515
well perhaps he had a strong box.
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Male 15,510
Science is all wrong, they cant still proof the existence of that one being that is above all us, our silly theories and morals. I am talking of Zeus of course
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Male 496
Also I find it hilarious how everyone on here -completely understands- quantum mechanics and dislikes those that "pretend" to know because they have heard about some cat in a box, but none of you are those people of course. ^^
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Male 496
Volsunga

If people with no background in science were able to think "Wait! Why doesn`t the cat count as an observer?" then the experiment would have no point as clearly there would already be a fundamental understanding of quantum mechanics. It serves its purpose of being a relate-able example of quantum physics, which is why so many people think they understand. I do agree with you on the double slit experiment though.
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Male 5,194
This theory is 75 years old, very famous, and EVERYBODY`S ALREADY HEARD OF IT. Instead of re-hashing an re-re-rehashing the same old same old same old over and over and over, why not come up with a better theory? Physicists have been sitting on their collective asses for half a century now, the last real work was done in this field BEFORE I WAS BORN.
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Male 995
Not true. Sound is pressure waves. Those pressure waves are not dedicated by nature for the sole purpose of vibrating the bones in the ears of mammals.

"For example, sound waves can move things. So you could, for example, watch silent video of sound waves causing the surrounding leaves in the forest to move. Which proves the sound still happens, regardless of whether anyone can hear it."
Sorry to be picky, but if it`s a silent video there would be no way to prove that the sound caused the movement
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Male 1,451
Schrodinger`s Cat is a zombie!
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Male 70
I think Schrodinger`s cat is useful for explaining the basics of quantum indeterminacy to people who have no background in science. It also illustrates the strangeness of quantum physics, e.g. affecting particles by measuring them, finding things without looking for them, effects happening before causes, etc. I`m sure there are probably better and more accurate illustrations now, but it`s still usable.
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Male 47
i know seven ways to kill a cat, this is not one.
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Female 855
Gee. I didn`t know Phil Spector was a scientist...
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Male 868
nice hair dude- stop trying to have Einstein crazy hair...
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Male 1,548
So they only talk about the Copenhagen interpretation because it is the most [sarcasm] "mind-blowing" [/sarcasm]. In reality, it is just stupid because if we consider the cat an observer, then it obviously knows whether it is alive or not (or more accurately, whether the cyanide has been released). Schrodinger`s Cat actually does a poor job of explaining the concept of quantum indeterminacy. We now have an ACTUAL experiment that demonstrates the concept much easier and without all the problem of the cat`s thought experiment. The double-slit experiment is fairly easy to understand and reveals far more about what is actually going on. Schodinger`s cat is really only kept alive by pretentious idiots who think they understand quantum mechanics because they "know the profound fact that the cat is both dead and alive". It`s these misunderstandings that leave innocent people vulnerable to charlatans like Deepak Chopra.
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Male 4,290
[quote]Yeah Nick, I hate people trying to be clever for the sake of it too but sound only exists as a neural interpretation of said waves so the answer would be no, there is no sound if a tree falls and no animal is there to hear it.[/quote]
Not true. Sound is pressure waves. Those pressure waves are not dedicated by nature for the sole purpose of vibrating the bones in the ears of mammals.

For example, sound waves can move things. So you could, for example, watch silent video of sound waves causing the surrounding leaves in the forest to move. Which proves the sound still happens, regardless of whether anyone can hear it.

QED.

[quote]The idea only applies on a quantum level, for which the cat is a completely useless analogy.[/quote]
Exactly. People need to remember that it is an analogy. The cat is not biologically both dead and alive at all times during the hour it is unobservable.
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Male 37,888

there are easier ways to kill a cat.
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Male 648
I thought the Cat experiment was Schrodinger`s way of politely saying "That is bullpoo and let me tell you why" to the other physicists. Then he turned out to be wrong, how embarrassing.
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Male 1,929
@simmerdown: I think you`re in the same camp as me. On a normal level, it means absolutely nothing. The idea only applies on a quantum level, for which the cat is a completely useless analogy.
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Male 1,929
I`ve always thought that Shrodinger`s Cat meant absolutely nothing of any relevance, and I think this video has reassured my that it`s not meant to.
Basicly it means "You don`t know something unless you observe it". Surely you can just say that, as it`s stating the bleeding obvious. I`m suprised something so fundamentally basic to logic is so popular.
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Female 62
I have never understood Schrodinger`s cat, and I still don`t. :(
Someone explained it to me at a quantum level and that made a lot more sense. Does it just not work with cats, or was that the point they were making?
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Male 229
I LOVE HIS HAIR!!!
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Male 510
why do they even need a cat? why cant tehy just observe whther the glas has been broken and the glass can exist in two states?
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Male 395
TheSharpest, you need to read the rest of my post not just knee-jerk to the first 8 words.
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Male 474
But in all reality it really is just a goofy and completely hypothetical situation because everyone knows that if you put a live cat in a box, the cat is in fact alive, and is still in the box. Just because you can`t see it doesn`t mean it doesn`t exist in the state you last left it in.
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Male 474
Didn`t even have to watch the video, Shrodinger`s Cat/Box is one of my favorite physics/psychology ideas.
It really is simple, if you put a cat in a box and close the box so that you can no longer perceive it, you have now way of knowing whether the cat is or is not in the box, or whether it is alive or dead, or some combination of all factors.
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Male 10,440
I wish I looked like that guy in the black shirt. I`d have all the ladies.

The key here is that the cat is alive AND dead at the same time. There was a few "alive or dead" quotes there. That`s not the case.
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Male 1,765
Yeah Nick, I hate people trying to be clever for the sake of it too but sound only exists as a neural interpretation of said waves so the answer would be no, there is no sound if a tree falls and no animal is there to hear it.
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Male 395
my supervisor. (dunno why it chopped my message, i was below the 1000 limit)

oh wait, maybe it`s another quantum mechanical question... just because I believed the text in the box to be less than 1000 characters, I need to put some deadly gas in here too to help me figure it out.

*mustard gas*
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Male 1,587
What about quantum suicide? Shcrödinger is a gay physicist- he blows your mind. Get it? eh?
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Male 395
exactly almighty bob, yes it makes a sound, or more accurately, it emits a wave of energy which we as human beings detect as sound.

Irrespective of whether a human being is there or not, it produces that wave of energy.

I hate intellectuals trying to be clever for the sake of it.

Let`s look at the cat situation - this is just stupid. You could say the same thing whether the cyanide was in there or not - just because from your point of view, you can`t tell if the cat is alive or not... that doesn`t actually decide whether it is!

How about if I never send another message on iab from now on? Does that mean that to every iab reader, i am in a quantum state of being both alive and dead?

Well I wonder how that will feel from my point of view.

or even if it`s just in the amount of time between this next message and my next one... am I both dead and alive at the same time?!

I will have to call in sick and explain this all to
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Male 25,416
i learned things
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Male 4,290
[quote]Another way to think of it: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?[/quote]
Yes, it makes a sound. Sound is just the propagation of pressure through air (or another medium - we can hear underwater too), which happens regardless of whether there is an ear nearby to interpret it.

Quantum physics can change depending on observation. The rest of physics does not.
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Male 86
I think the main dude`s hair makes the video
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Female 233
Nerdgasm :D
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Female 1,324
I love Schrodinger`s cat :) my physics teacher used it as an example when we were talking about light and the particle/wave idea and a lot of science fictiony books I read used it to explain the quantum mechanics they were trying to explain. it`s quite simple really...
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Male 772
Another way to think of it: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Based on quantum physics, it both makes a sound and doesn`t make a sound. The only way to define it is if someone or something can observe it.
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Male 12
nice hair dude
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Male 36,410
Link: Schrodinger`s Cat Explained? [Rate Link] - Schrodinger`s cat is an icon of modern physics - but what is it exactly? Hooray for cats and thought experiments.
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