Thursday, August 16, 2012

Schrodinger's Cat...

Forgive me in advance for this post, but occasionally the geek side of me collides with my OCD and chaos ensues...

Stolen from Wikipedia:
Schrödinger's cat is a thought experiment, sometimes described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. It illustrates what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics applied to everyday objects. The scenario presents a cat that might be alive or dead, depending on an earlier random event. Although the original "experiment" was imaginary, similar principles have been researched and used in practical applications. The thought experiment is also often featured in theoretical discussions of the interpretation of quantum mechanics.
Schrödinger did not wish to promote the idea of dead-and-alive cats as a serious possibility; quite the reverse, the paradox is a classic reductio ad absurdum. (Latin: "reduction to absurdity") is a common form of argument in which a proposition is purported to be disproved by reduction to absurdity in reasoning or consequence.
Stolen from

Here's Schrödinger's (theoretical) experiment: We place a living cat into a steel chamber, along with a device containing a vial of hydrocyanic acid. There is, in the chamber, a very small amount of hydrocyanic acid, a radioactive substance. If even a single atom of the substance decays during the test period, a relay mechanism will trip a hammer, which will, in turn, break the vial and kill the cat. 
The observer cannot know whether or not an atom of the substance has decayed, and consequently, cannot know whether the vial has been broken, the hydrocyanic acid released, and the cat killed. Since we cannot know, according to quantum law, the cat is both dead and alive, in what is called a superposition of states. It is only when we break open the box and learn the condition of the cat that the superposition is lost, and the cat becomes one or the other (dead or alive). This situation is sometimes called quantum indeterminacy or the observer's paradox: the observation or measurement itself affects an outcome, so that the outcome as such does not exist unless the measurement is made. (That is, there is no single outcome unless it is observed.)
I can hear it now, where on earth is he going with this!!!  Ahh...but it will soon all become clear.

As in Schrodinger's thought experiment, we never can really know until we know...and by the way, while I know it is NOT true (since it was actually Brithish play-write Ben Johnson in Every Man in His Humour in 1598 and shortly thereafter William Shakespeare in  Much Ado About Nothing in 1599 who both used  the similar phrases "care will kill a cat" and "though care kill a cat" respectively), I like to think that this is the origin of the phrase "Curiosity Killed the Cat", since according to Schrodinger's reductio ad absurdum, the cat is both dead and alive until we open the box to see.  Thus, our curiosity, and not the cat's, killed him.

So, again, where is he going with this?

Well, truth be told, I am VERY curious.  On my blog, there is a little tool ( which tell me generally from where the readers are based (or at least from where their computer address catches the internet).  Many of the hits I can generally identify to whom they belong, based on what I know of some of my readers.  Others I am totally lost in the dark (not to mention the foreign-Russia and India- that refer from web sites I can't imagine how I am connected!!)

All I am asking is if you read this post, just drop me a comment with your name (or handle-I am not choosy) and your general location (I don't want your home address, unless you want a Christmas card-as if I send  It would go a long way towards satisfying my curiosity.

So go ahead, Kill the cat (or don't) and open the box!

Thanks, Rejoice and Be Glad!!!!


  1. LOL. Seeing Russia on my traffic info always makes me scratch my head and ponder a bit, too.

    As for me, I'm the "visitor from Oklahoma City". Actually, I'm in a suburb, but the IP stuff always lists as OKC, so I guess that's close enough for government work, eh?

    And, after talking to you about Star Trek the other day, today's randomness is going to be about Big Bang Theory. Only Sheldon Cooper would use Schrodinger's Cat in a dating analogy.

    1. Understood with the IP thing since I "appear" from 170 miles away on most IP trackers. Convenient and "plausible deniability" two things I enjoy online (insert maniacal laughter here).

      Thanks to you in OKC-ish. And yes, I am a big fan of BBT (the show, not the real theory) since I am geekish. It was a great episode. He lacks general social convention, but can attempt to relate things to his theoretical world. Hard to prove something theoretical