Your are viewing a read-only archive of the old DiS boards. Please hit the Community button above to engage with the DiS !
Wikipedia is too complicated for me. Can someone explain it in REALLY simple terms?
Cat in a box.
There's a poison gas thing in there.
It opens, killing the cat, depending on if your sample of radioactive material decays or not.
The decay is totally random.
You can't in any way determine what's happening in the box.
Therefore, until you open the box you cannot tell if the cat has been killed or is still alive. Hence the cat is both alive and dead at the same time.
Think that's it.
and now how does that relate to all the quantumish stuff? or doesn't it?
it relates to the path of electrons. or something. it is a while since i read about this stuff, and i didnt really take it in to start with.
that cats aren't like subatomic particles.
A cat really is dead or alive, you just don't know. WHereas an electron is both a wave and a particle and only becomes one or the other when observed.
electrons is the whole only being able to tell its location OR its velocity and not both. i think thats great.
in other news, planck's constant is the cutest number in the world.
youre effectively killing the cat by opening it, buu killing off the hope of it being alive
or am I missing the point?
that would break the poison gas capsule, fool. It would be dead then, even if it had been alive!
It also technically counts as an act of measurement, shirley?
he is either dead or he isnt, there is an equal chance but there is absolutely no way of knowing which one, and he cannot be in some intermediary state, so at any point the cat must be considered both alive and dead.
please note, that is totally wrong because ive forgotten it totally.
also, on a side note, i used to have a teacher who had a cat called schroedinger, which i always thought was silly, as schroedinger was the person who killed (or didnt) the cat; the cat itself doesnt have a name
thanks everyone. look forward to reading tomorrow xx
Perhaps he was incredibly egotistical and named the cat after himself!
it isnt a real cat, it only exists within the description of schroedingers cat, so since that description doesnt give it a name we cannot attribute a name to it with any accuracy.
is a lie.
by observing the phenomena, you change it's beahviour.
Factoid - this idea is now being utilised to encrypt emails.
Where he attempted the experiment and the cat just disappeared
(although admittedly quite interesting)
(And technically, by the time you posted, it was the geekiest thread of *yesterday*.)
if this is how difficult the famous vaguely easy bits are, what are the hard bits like?
You should try General Relativity...or how the sun works internally...or fluid dynamics...or sitting through an entire edition of Going for Gold.
Yes, this is the hard shit that awaits you at Uni...
Henry Kelly. A legend.
no outside forces must be involved. It wouldn't mimic the wave/particle nature because there could only be one outcome each time!
would have to exist on a number of different planes of movement, atleast 9, at the same time.
Yes, that's what I meant. By kicking the box you force the cat into one of the two possible states, whereas before it was in an indeterminate state.
you can only force it into the one state, which isn't particularly good for the example.
But that's beside the point since there's no way of seeing the indeterminate state, which is the point.
However back to the cat in box proving a flaw with quantum mechanics......I've just realised that that is bollocks.....it does not show a flaw in quantum mechanics......heres how.....
the cat (a non quantuum bodys existance depends on the quantuum bodies state, the quantumm bodies state may alter if viewed.......HOWEVER, there is a big contrivance suggesting that the cat cannot be viewed also without altering the quantuum bodies state......this is a falacy, e.g. if we view the cat we do not necessarily view the quantuum body, saying we'd release the acid is merely a spolier......OK supose there was a little window in the box that enabled us to view the cat without viewing the quantuum particle (or listening for its breathing with a stethoscope....whatever, hu huh....the box has been used to shield you all from logic...i.e. you can determine the cats(non quantuum item) state without effecting the (quantuum bodies state)
I agree its a great trick its all noice and tricksy sciency and logicy....then it goes and uses the box to distract you all just like Derren Brown would.......whats amazing is that serious scientists get caught up with it too...........by the way should I patent this debunking? I dont think Ive seen it anywhere else, hasn't anyone pointed this out before?
Should I write into scientist weekly or something?
to shoot down my last post, im sure it shouldnt have been that easy to debunk 'the cat in the box'
Just because it doesn't make any sense, it doesn't mean that quantum mechanics isn't an important and valid scientific theory.
Contrary to popular belief, it's a largely empirical theory - it does an excellent job of predicting results, but very little to explain the physical reality. The business about the cat existing in a superposition of states is basically philosophical conjecture - nobody really knows what happnes to an electron or a cat when you're not looking at it.
The cat thing is just an analogy. I read another in some crappy popular science book, the name of which I can't remember - imagine the media is waiting outside the building to discover whether the cat is dead or alive. From their perspective, the entire inside of the building is in a superposition of states.
There is a school of thought that it is consciousness that forces the electron/cat into a definite state, ie. (as bones_howe said) by the very act of observing, we "create" the outcome of a measurement.
im always suspicious that my cat is like, dancing the polka or something when im not looking...
It's an analogy of the fundamental unknowability of the quantum state.
One interpretation of quantum mechanics is that particles such as electrons do not have physical attributes such as spin and orbital angular momenta, but are given the property of spin by the very act of measuring spin.
eg. an electron can have spin up or spin down - by measuring its spin, you force it into an up state or a down state, but before the measurement, it was in a superposition of the two.
The Schrodinger's cat thought experiment applies this principle on a macroscopic scale. I can't remember the exact setup, but the main point is that the cat exists in a superposition of states (analogous to the spin) until you open the box and "measure" whether it is alive or dead.