Anyone hear of "Schroedinger's Cat"?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ted Lee, Nov 26, 2002.

  1. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    are there any quantum physics people here?
    if so, please explain this to me. i've done searches on google and read some good articles, but i still think i'm missing something.
    okay, i get the experiment. you put some atomic material, a geiger counter rigged to a hammer, some poison in a glass container, and a cat in a box. if the atomic material decays, the geiger counter senses this and makes the hammer break the glass thereby killing the cat.
    what's confusing me is the whole part about whether the cat is really alive or dead and how we don't know until we open the box? or is the cat in a parallel existence?
    i think this whole experiment was originally designed to debunk the whole quantum physics thing, so maybe i'm not getting it because i'm not supposed to?
    hmmm...
    ps - i saw some cartoon on disney with a cat whose name was schroedinger. i thought that was pretty cool. [​IMG]
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Isn't this the cat who walks through walls?
     
  3. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    hey patrick -
    no...this has something to do with whether the cat really exists if we can't see it. again, i'm not real clear on the whole thing. :b
    a quote from the following website: http://www.galactic-guide.com/articles/8R56.html
     
  4. Danny R

    Danny R Supporting Actor

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    so what i'm thinking is that the cat is neither alive nor dead until you *open* the box. that's what's kickin' my ass.
    Schroedinger originally included a hypothetical one paragraph example of his famous cat in the box in a paper describing the present state of Quantum Mechanics as of 1983.
    The paragraph in question is as follows:
     
  5. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    ahh...thx joeseph. that actually sort-of-kind-of cleared it up - if you can believe that.
    i did read that this was a cursory statement and has been pretty much blown way out of proportion, but it still piqued my curiosity.
    guess i need to get the heisenberg compensator off the enterprise. [​IMG]
     
  7. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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  8. Phillip Larrabure

    Phillip Larrabure Auditioning

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  9. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    cool read phillip -
    i like that test with the photon light particles.
     
  10. John Miles

    John Miles Stunt Coordinator

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    (IBTL, before Jack Briggs locks the thread on grounds of probabilistic cruelty to cats)
     
  11. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh ... high school physics. run away!

    -thanks for the horrible memory.

    -Vince
     
  12. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    [​IMG] [insert evil laugh here...] [​IMG]
     
  13. Phillip Larrabure

    Phillip Larrabure Auditioning

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    Ted-

    The "Faster than light" experiment is definitely cool. As I understand it, the result is undergoing further study. Until quantum mechanics is fully understood, the day I grow a third butt, gaining wide-spread acceptance requires a line of concurring results.

    This experiment definitely tweaks the noggin. Does the particle speed up? Does it disintegrate and reappear? Does the medium alter the position's probability density which results in the accelerated time of arrival? In the quantum world, the first two questions probably make no sense. My mind can't help but be deterministic. Damn you Heisenberg.

    I can determine one thing though. It makes me wish I was back in college.

    Phil
     
  14. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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  15. EricW

    EricW Cinematographer

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    when i first saw the title of this thread, i was reminded of an issue of the comic book ANIMAL MAN by Grant Morrison i read years and years ago. i still remember it cuz it was pretty interesting. the example had to do with the cat in a box or something, and you don't know if it's alive or dead, but the act of opening the box would also either kill it or set it free. so when you don't know (box closed) the cat could be alive or dead, but the act of finding out also affects its fate.
    that's how i remember it anyways [​IMG]
     
  16. Mark R O

    Mark R O Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the links everyone. The article on event-enabling and cause/effect was great. The rather casual mention of String Theory was a serious flaw, but then the focus was on Quantum Mech's so benefit of the doubt goes to the author.
    String Theory is moving us towards new forms of perception so profound that it may usher an evolution in mankind on the order cognitive thought. The math involved in unification is so far beyond my understanding that I'll never envision the mechanics. But isn't unification basically the answer that makes there be no such thing as a question? (ouch, that hurts my head every time..) Relativity and Quantum Theory are both attempts to write the one unifying equation aren't they? That's the best way I have to express it :b . Each one works until applied to the other, then glitches show up. Finally, both accept light as the universal speed limit. If it proves not to be, than it's all a bunch of bulls**t! Anyway, String Theory avoids all this. Worthwhile reading. [​IMG]
     
  17. Danny R

    Danny R Supporting Actor

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    String Theory is moving us towards new forms of perception so profound that it may usher an evolution in mankind on the order cognitive thought.
    The problem with string theory is that it is not background independent. Also while it unifies known fundamental physics, it has failed at Planck scale physics.
    An alternate theory that doesn't have those limits is loop quantum gravity. Loop quantum gravity provides a vigorous explaination of physics at the Planck scale.
    I'm betting however that both theories will merge, or one will be found to be a subset of the other.
     
  18. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    Ted,
    I took some Quantum in college, and by no means understand it fully (and if anyone here says they do 99.999% chance they are lying [​IMG]), but here is what I understood from S's cat:
    As Ted said above, it is basically an equation about whether the cat is alive or dead. If we never open the box and there is a 50/50 chance each hour the cat will die, we can only ever estimate it's current state. For example:
    hour 1 : alive 50%, dead 50%
    hour 2: alive 25%, dead 75%
    hour 3: alive 12.5%, dead 87.5%
    hour 4: alive 6.25%, dead 93.75%
    hour ...
    So if we pop the top on the box at end of hour 4 and the cat is dead, we know for sure that it is now dead but we can never know exactly when it died. In hour 1, 2, 3, or 4? All we can do is formulate the % chance that it was alive/dead at any time, we can never know for sure exactly when it died (cuz the box was closed.)
    If someone walked up to you and asked if the cat is alive or dead while the box is closed, what would you say (if 'I don't know' wasn't allowed)? You would have to say that there is a 6.25% chance it is alive and a 93.75% chance it is dead (if it was during hour 4). The cat isn't in a parallel universe or anything, but you can only give it's chances at any given time, you can't really confirm if it alive or dead without opening the box.
    I know it seems a little silly, but with electrons it is like always having the cat in the box (or having a box that you cannot open.) You never know where exactly the elecron is, but you can assign % to each of it's possible states (or locations) and make a guess based on different situations.
     
  19. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    that's a great example joe.
    i didn't get any of how the forumla stuff was supposed to work, so that helped tremendously.
    thx! [​IMG]
     
  20. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    The part that I could never get was how this wasn't solvable empirically.

    I "get" (read accept, but probably don't really understand) how the particle may or may not be decayed. I also "get" that the act of observation changes the result. But, doesn't the Geiger counter count as observation. By detecting decay, aren't you observing the side effect of the particle's state, and therefore determining its true state. Kind of just like opening the box and looking at the particle?

    Also, by using a cat, you have a whole host of empirical data to determine what really happened. If you open the box and find the cat dead, you could check and see how long it was dead. The cat could also be talking and letting you know what its state was (alive or dead).

    I think, distilled down, I just don't understand how the Geiger counter doesn't count as observing and thereby robbing the quantum particle's flexibility to be several things at once. Anyone able to help?
     

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