Saturday, March 31, 2012

So, there's a cat in a box.

Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, right? Well, it's actually the beginning of a pretty schnazzy experiment, by a pretty schnazzy man. Many of you have probably heard of it, and I love those of you who knew what I was going to talk about simply by the title. Now, a quick bio.
This experiment is called-- maybe nicknamed, it might have some uberly fancy math name. However, the common name is-- Schrodinger's Cat. Schrodinger-- full name: Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger-- was a nineteenth century physicist and theoretical biologist. Schrodinger was Austrian, and one of the fathers of quantum mechanics.In 1933, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for the Schrodinger Equation. In 1935, he proposed the Schrodinger's Cat Thought Experiment, which is what I'm going to inform you of tonight. (Or today, depends on when you're reading it. It's currently 11:08, which is night here in the swamp. {that was a reference to one of my favorite YouTubers})
Now! On to the experiment! Schrodinger didn't actually put a cat in a box, for you "intellectuals." I think it's pretty cool. Since I'm a total stranger to quantum physics-- Yes, even I do not know everything-- I don't understand it 100%. Well, scratch that. I understand the principle, not to it's entirety, but the basics. However, I don't know how it relates to huge mathematic principles. 
It goes like this: there's a cat, a Geiger counter, radioactive material, a hammer, and a flask of poison in a box. If the Geiger counter detects radiation, it will release the hammer. The hammer will smash the poison, and the poison will kill the cat. Now, this is entirely random. Nothing is timed. So, before opening the box, the cat is both alive and dead. This is because neither can be proved. So, upon opening the box, the cat can be either dead upon opening or dead before opening. Which I just think is super cool. Which is why I shared this with you. Hope you liked it!

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