Schrodinger's cat wiki

Posted under General

I think it's too detailed and misses the broader point. It's a confusing (and so not very good) analogy that Schrodinger thought up to critisize quantum mechanics (or rather, conclusions physicists were drawing from it), rather than an experiment used to find out something new about QM. This was part of the deterministic vs unpredictable world philosophy debates and the point was that the cat being in a quasi-state of both dead and alive until the box is opened just because of QM is rediculous, but the argument ultimately wasn't persuasive.


When you attempt to measure where an electron on an atom is, where it appears is seemingly random, regardess of how often measurements are made. QM proposes that therefore, the electron has a probability curve of where it is and between measurements is in a quasi-state of being everywhere on that curve at once, until a measurement is made, upon which the interaction forces the electron to collapse into one specific state.

It also proposes that which state the electron collapses into is perfectly random and independant of what state it collapsed into before and therefore any one interaction is unpredictable (though you can still calculate its probability curve). In fact this proposal is extended to all quantum interactions, so the future has yet to be determined (at least on a small scale). Folks like Einstein and Schrodinger didn't like this at all.

Schrodinger imagined a cat placed in a special box along with a machine that might kill it, depending on the result of a quatum interaction (schrdinger used a lump of radioactive stuff, a geiger counter, a hammer and a bottle of poison in his example). The special box doesn't let us know anything about the inside of the box when it isn't open.

Schrodinger then proposed that since QM implied that whether the interaction had happened yet was undetermined until measured and in a quasi-state of having both happened and not happened, and since our form of measurement was opening the box to see if the cat was dead, then the cat must also be in a quasi-state of being dead and alive until we opened the box.

Edit: Forgive the wall of text, I find this stuff interesting.

Since this isn't all that important, it needs condensing, though I don't know how you would condense that into a wiki article, but you see how the current one is barking too far up the branches and misses the rest of the tree.


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  • You'd probably be better off detailing things that would appear in an image referencing the thought experiment rather than trying to explain it. A link to the wikipedia article should be all the actual explanation involved here.

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  • So should the wiki say something like, "An image referencing the Schrodinger's Cat thought experiment. References should include at least a cat and/or a box. Poison and a Geiger counter can also be present as well."

    Or should the wiki go into full detail about the experiment itself as Serlo mentioned? I think that just describing the contents of the image itself would be better than fully explaining the paradox (quantum physics is beyond me... @_@). Then any provided links can delve into further details for those who are curious.

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  • Serlo said:

    Again, since what it actually is isn't very widely understood, maybe add that any equipment that has a chance of killing the cat or leaving it alive will make it a reference.

    It's really not that important to show the actual experiment being conducted. Only one of the 5 images does that currently.

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