Author Options:

Explain Schrodinger's cat, simply.? Answered

Explain, as simply as possible, please.


Schrodinger was making a point about the quantum world and the macroscopic world. It is relatively easy to see that a quantum wavefunction can be in an intermediate, unknowable state. Schrodinger's point was that, even enclosed in his thought experiment, the cat was still either dead or alive, there was no unknowable state.

How can the cat be alive and dead? Is it not alive when the experiment begins? Is it not distinctively dead when the experiment is over?

Its alive when the experiment begins, it may or may not be alive when it ends and the experiment is examined. You see ? Its illogical for a macro-system to BE undefined .

Is there not a variable that defines how it can be dead or alive? Can it not be determined before the experiment begins due to known beginning variables?

So, there's no way we can determine if it is alive or dead at the end of the experiment. So, we mislabeled a mistake, "Science?"

No, the result is NOT determined at the "end" it is determined DURING the experiment.

That doesnt make any sense. So, your trying to figure out wheather the cat is dead during the experiment. Why? Its pretty much screwed anyways, its only a matter of time.

Schrodinger's cat was a thought experiment created by Schrodinger to illustrate the absurdity of logic that quantum theory would impose if considered at macroscopic scale. He initially intended as a blow at quantum theory, not a boon.

Essentially the position and velocity of a particle/wave can not be fully known, due to uncertainty. Measuring an aspect of one will cause you you to be less certain of another. What's more quantum theory perdicts that the act of measurement is what gives any certainty to the particle/wave. Before a measurement takes place the particle/wave exists in every possible probability. A good analogy of the particle/wave existence is like considering a particle as a traveler going down a road; the traveler comes to a fork in the road going in several directions. In classical physics this traveler comes to the fork and choices a path, there done. In quantum physics the traveler goes down every path at the same time, and only when the traveler meets another traveler on one of these path is that path chosen. Confused yet?

In the thought experiment the cat is sealed in box that is perfectly sealed in a way no real box could be. In this "perfect" box there is no way for any information or object  to be passed from the inside out, or from the outside in. In the box with the cat is a bottle of poison, and a hammer to release the poison. The hammer is triggered by a radioactive substance. In the amount of time the cat is sealed in the box there is exactly a fifty/fifty chance that the substance will decay and trigger the hammer to fall on the poison bottle. So let's say it's ten minutes. The cat is put in the box, the box sealed, and ten minutes later the box is opened. The cat will either be alive or dead at that time. A flip of the coin.

But quantum theory says that until the box is unsealed, the cat is both. Before the box is opened you can not test in anyway the living status of the cat or the condition of the radioactive material. So, as far as the whole of the universe outside the box is concerned the cat is alive/dead until checked, because the particle/waves of the trigger are triggered/untriggered until checked, becsuse they take every path until checked.

You may say that is a fluke of observation. That it may seem that way only for the observer, but not the cat. Inside the box something definitely happened. Not true, the particle does take every path possible path. I will have to point you to the double slit experiment that clearly illustrates that a particle takes every path, until measured.

And so the whole thought experiment is designed to illustrate how odd the quantum theory seems on a macroscopic scale.

it means that schrodinger didn't like his wife so he shut it in a box with a bottle of poison and told his wife it was for science.