Date: April 4, 2011
I would like to understand the thing about Schrödingers cat. Is
it really alive and dead at the same time? I
talked to a friend, who said it is actually a
lie, that the life of the cat would depend on,
if we look at it or not, and that the truth is,
that we just do not KNOW if it is alive or dead,
and that's why we just say it is both, though it
is not true. Is that right?
The cat is a thought experiment to illustrate
the uncertainty principle. Until we look, we
are not sure whether the cat is still alive or
the isotope has decayed and the cat has
died. In essence the cat is alive/dead (it can
be either) until we take a look that is, make a measurement.
R. W. "Bob" Avakian
Actually, the story about Schroedinger's cat is a thought experiment whose
purpose is to cast sarcasm on a proposed outcome in quantum mechanics.
Quantum mechanics suggests that a light quanta does not reveal itself as a
particle or as a wave until it is observed and prior to observation, the
light quanta existed only as a probability.
So Schroedinger (and Einstein who also later agreed with him) compared this
situation to a cat in a box. There would be in the box with the cat a
completely random trigger that would cause the cat to live or die to the
point that no one knows if the cat was alive or dead until they opened the
box. However, Schroedinger points out that the cat, if it was alive, would
have a memory of sitting in the box and therefore this quantum mechanics
outcome is absurd.
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Update: June 2012