Macro objects and superposition of states

In summary: Yeah .. it works for me now too .. however just before I wrote that last post, I had clicked on a link to a wikipedia section in another thread, and I got the PF-version of the Not Found page. I thought "uh oh" and I came back here and tried my link from last night, and got the same message. However when I tried it again just now everything seems fine.
  • #1
entropy1
1,230
71
Is a living macro object, such as a cat or human being, in fact in a superposition of states?
(I am thinking about for instance the multiple-universe idea)
 
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  • #2
entropy1 said:
Is a living macro object, such as a cat or human being, in fact in a superposition of states?
(I am thinking about for instance the multiple-universe idea)

At any given instant, there are probably a small number of individual systems at the molecular level in your body that are in quantum superpositions, however for the most part, people (or cats) have undergone decoherence, and are thus best described as being in mixed states. To learn about the distinction between superpositions and mixed states, try reading this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed_state#Pure_and_mixed_states

The upshot is that superpositions are coherent, i.e. there is a well-defined phase relationship between the components of the state. Decoherence can be thought of as the process of degradation of the coherence. A superposition that undergoes complete decoherence ends up as a mixed state.
 
  • #3
entropy1 said:
Is a living macro object, such as a cat or human being, in fact in a superposition of states?
(I am thinking about for instance the multiple-universe idea)
Any state is unique.
But some people do like destroy unique state in the superposition of other unique states of unliving abstract objects.
 
  • #4
SpectraCat said:
At any given instant, there are probably a small number of individual systems at the molecular level in your body that are in quantum superpositions, however for the most part, people (or cats) have undergone decoherence, and are thus best described as being in mixed states. To learn about the distinction between superpositions and mixed states, try reading this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed_state#Pure_and_mixed_states

The upshot is that superpositions are coherent, i.e. there is a well-defined phase relationship between the components of the state. Decoherence can be thought of as the process of degradation of the coherence. A superposition that undergoes complete decoherence ends up as a mixed state.

just realized that PF doesn't like links to wikipedia sections, so the link I posted above is broken (although it seemed to work fine when I previewed it) ... so check out the section on "Pure and Mixed States" at this link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed_state
 
  • #5
SpectraCat said:
just realized that PF doesn't like links to wikipedia sections,
Looks fine to me. You just have to click on it rather than try to copy-paste it.
 
  • #6
Hurkyl said:
Looks fine to me. You just have to click on it rather than try to copy-paste it.

Yeah .. it works for me now too .. however just before I wrote that last post, I had clicked on a link to a wikipedia section in another thread, and I got the PF-version of the Not Found page. I thought "uh oh" and I came back here and tried my link from last night, and got the same message. However when I tried it again just now everything seems fine. Perhaps it is just some weird browser-PF-OS clash (I use FF 5.0 on Mac OS 10.5.8) that is exclusive to my machine.
 

Related to Macro objects and superposition of states

1. What are macro objects?

Macro objects are large objects that can be seen and manipulated by humans, such as a chair, a car, or a person. They are made up of many microscopic particles and follow the laws of classical physics.

2. What is superposition of states?

Superposition of states is a principle in quantum mechanics that states that a particle can exist in multiple states or positions at the same time. This is in contrast to classical physics, where an object can only be in one state or position at a time.

3. How do macro objects exhibit superposition of states?

Macro objects do not exhibit superposition of states in the same way that particles do in quantum mechanics. This is because macro objects are made up of many particles and thus their behavior is governed by classical physics. However, in some cases, macro objects can exhibit certain quantum behaviors, such as interference patterns, due to their large size and complexity.

4. What are the implications of superposition of states for macro objects?

The implications of superposition of states for macro objects are still being studied and debated. Some scientists believe that macro objects may exhibit some level of quantum behavior, while others argue that the laws of classical physics are sufficient to explain their behavior. Understanding the implications of superposition of states for macro objects may have implications for our understanding of the fundamental nature of reality.

5. How is the study of macro objects and superposition of states relevant to everyday life?

The study of macro objects and superposition of states is relevant to everyday life as it helps us better understand the behavior of matter at the macroscopic level. This understanding can have practical applications in fields such as material science, engineering, and technology. Additionally, studying macro objects and superposition of states can also provide insights into the nature of reality and our place in the universe.

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