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Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger, one of the founders of quantum mechanics, posed this famous question: If you put a cat in a sealed box with a device that has a 50% chance of killing the cat in the next hour, what will be the state of the cat when that time is up? Chad Orzel investigates this thought experiment.

Lesson by Chad Orzel, animation by Agota Vegso.


By earmpy

47 thoughts on “Schrödinger's cat: A thought experiment in quantum mechanics – Chad Orzel”
  1. Soooooo reality is something that moves with time and is only activated through your own actions or actions not taken?????? So then your "reality" is created every second which cause "waves" that affect those of another person and vice versa affects yours as well creating what we known as our universe??????? I get the whole box thing but then that would mean that two people unbeknownst could look inside the box and according to this theory it would be safe to assume that it is possible that one would see the cat alive and one would see it dead. And if neither would tell each other or anyone else for that matter what they saw inside, then that would remain their own reality. But if they did tell eachother then what part of whose reality would make the cat either dead or alive??????? That is super weird man. I'm sure I'm missing a point since I'm no physicist.

  2. Makes sense….its about conjecture. Until the box is open, every single possibility and singularity is possible. If this was a graph the line would continuously go up exponentially for every possibility. But when we open the box the line falls dramatically to an automatic zero because there is no more possibility. I'm sorry if I got this wrong I am drunk……

  3. Lmao so you're telling me that the Schrodinger's equation that we kept studying at schools was actually
    abandoned by it's founder and he even tried to kill a cat. He was definitely depressed and had an existential crisis. RIP Schrodinger I still don't understand you

  4. Has quantum physics of this sort ever produced any tangible results in anything? What about the cat’s perspective? Does the cat both live and die simultaneously irrespective of its own perception?


  6. I never understood and don’t believe that superposition applies to composite entities, like a cat. For the cat’s existence and movement through reality to be a product of wave forms makes no sense. I had always thought that this superposition/waveform business applied to the elementary particles only, such as an electron being everywhere at once “but only within its particle field”. How could this apply to the entire cat? So, consider………what if in the thought experiment (of my formulation) the poison were in fact acid, the fumes of which would still kill the cat, but if spilled on the bottom of the box, would eat through it? Place a mechanism on the floor of the box’s interior which would cause the vile of acid to tip over if the cat were to lie down and place spikes under the cat so that it would not lie down if still alive. Thus, if the vile were broken by the hammer, triggered by the collector, the fumes would be released and the cat killed. It would then fall over in spite of the spikes and cause the acid to be dumped to the floor. In this set of events, the observer of the box would never see the interior or the cat but only acid leaking from the hole it burned through the bottom as a consequence of the cat (having remained unobserved in the box) having fallen onto the mechanism which tipped the vile of acid so that it would spill on the floor of the box. I believe we could conclude that the cat was only dead and not both dead and alive and that a succession of deterministic events took place to cause the acid to eat through to leak from the box. There would be no wave form to collapse. I would venture that so much of the innumerable events which take place in material reality are similarly related and the implications of superposition could not be seen as affecting the composite entities which we must continually navigate in material reality. What do you think?

  7. I can't tell if I understood this or not! Does this mean there is 50% chance for every outcome – until you look into it or work on it? For example, there is a 50% chance of my success and 50% of failure. Whether I succeed or fail can be know only after I try.

  8. So if a tarot reader allegedly say "this is your future" they already chose what state you'll be in? It's like the box have already been opened

  9. 2:48…….. The logic just blows up for me about here. I can't agree to the leap that is made …..I understand the explanation of electrons being shared that comes after this , and I understand the science of doping semiconductor materials to create transistors. But when he claims at 2:452:55 that the electron exists in two places at once…. I can't follow or agree. I think Schrodinger was right to disavow Quantum Mechanics.

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