Author Topic: Schrodinger's Cat  (Read 2953 times)

Offline scikopas

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Schrodinger's Cat
« on: June 10, 2013, 06:50:09 PM »
ben theres no show on Schrodinger's cat!  I'm not sure you could really talk about it for half an hour, but i bet people might be interested to learn what that fun little padox is all about.
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Offline bn

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2013, 07:04:53 PM »
it's not a paradox.
it's a reductio ad absrudum, demonstrating the fundamental wierdness of the copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics.
(i'm too tired to look things up right now, so i'll just say it as best as i can remember it)

one of the things in quantum mechanics is the idea that at SOME size/energy scale, things stop acting quantum-y and start acting classical-y. mostly, i think people wave their hands and hope that some day someone will come up with a really good explanation of where that size scale is, and why it is. I bet the quantum computer people have a good explanation by now.

anyway, Schrodinger was demonstrating that you can imagine a situation where the quantum mechanical nature of an object (the radioactive isotope) can dictate to the macroscopic world (the cat). while the box is still closed, you might as well treat situation in the box in terms of the quantum states of the isotope which dicate it's state. so the cat has two quantum states: alive and dead, and before the box is opened, It's "un-measured state" is a linear combination of the two.

so the cat is both alive and dead, just the way the radioactive isotope is both decayed and not decayed.

which is stupid. the cat has to be one. or the other. right?

so maybe those jerks in copenhagen are wrong.

or maybe the cat is quantum.

the moral of the story isn't that there is some lesson to learn about cats: rather it's that we shouldn't treat the philosophical picture underlying the copenhagen interpretation as being irrelevant to the macroscopic world.
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Offline bn

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2013, 07:06:04 PM »
my first quantum mechanics book was so great.
faux black leather cover. with a gold embossed cat on the front and back.
on the front the kitty was playful.
on the back, it was lying down peacefully with its eyes closed.

it was dead, of course.

 8) physics 8)
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Offline scikopas

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2013, 07:20:33 PM »
my first quantum mechanics book was so great.
faux black leather cover. with a gold embossed cat on the front and back.
on the front the kitty was playful.
on the back, it was lying down peacefully with its eyes closed.

it was dead, of course.

 8) physics 8)


hahahaha was it Griffiths!? Looking at that book is what made me think of the topic!!

Griffiths was the book i used to try to understand some of the words i found in my Gottfried and Yan quantum class... (I didn't do very well...)


I always thought Schrodinger made it up as a paradox (or at least described it as one) to make those jerks in copenhagen look like jerks.
PhD student in Materials Science at Arizona State University currently working on high-temperature superconductors and quantum computers or something.
my (materials) science podcast: LASER (Let's Agree Science and Engineering are Rad!) twitter @scikopas

Offline bn

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2013, 01:59:19 AM »
yeah, griffiths.

big G rocks the party, yo
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Offline bobmath

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