by a Thinker, Sailor, Blogger, Irreverent Guy from Madras

Schrödinger's Cat, Heisenberg Cut in Google Doodle

Today Google celebrates Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger’s 126 birthday with the famous Schrodinger's cat(s), in an equation related to it and a Heisenberg Cut(?).  Ironically the equation depicts the Copenhagen Interpretation of the wave function, which was what Schrödinger chose to counter with his thought experiment.

The whole image, comprising the living cat, the soul of the dead cat, other parts of the equation, with the Heisenberg cut acting as the ‘L’ in Google, appear to be painted on the inside of a box - presumably 'the' sealed box, where the Schrodinger's cat thought experiment is supposed to take place.

So what the heck is Schrodinger's cat thought experiment?  In simple terms:

A living cat is placed inside a sealed box with -
  • small amount of radioactive material;
  • a Geiger counter (to measure radioactive decay, if/when it occurs);
  • a vial of hydrocyanic acid (poison); and,
  • a trigger to release the poison acid/gas (if even one molecule decay is detected by Geiger counter, and kill the cat).

The conventional wisdom (even now) says we can never know whether the cat is alive or dead without opening the sealed box.  But in reality the cat can either be alive or dead, depending upon the random even of radioactive decay. 

When this situation is written mathematically, it can only be expressed as the cat being both alive and dead simultaneously - such a state is called superpositon.

The equation ‘collapses’ into one reality, only when an observer opens the box and sees whether the cat is alive or dead - it is called observer’s paradox. An outcome as such does not exist unless the measurement is made or there is no single outcome unless it is observed.

Schrödinger resists that this can't be accurate because it implies the cat is actually both dead and alive until the box is opened to check on it. But the cat, if it survives, will only remember being alive - the cat cannot remember being dead.

Confused?  Let me confuse you further.

Just 10 days back LiveScience reported that 2 experiments (one at University of Calgary, Canada and the other at University of Geneva, Switzerland) open up the possibility of Schrodinger’s cat being true.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Support - Donate

Your Blog is

Donate thro ECWID

Contact Form

Follow by Email