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- TL;DR Summary
- If an atom is a sphere of influence, can an atom in superposition influence two places at once- even if for a brief moment? And is it possible for the wave function of an atom to not collapse after being observed?

All of my speculation is based on my current understanding of quantum physics as an art high school student who just has this as an interest, which is in no way at a quantum physicist's level so I apologize if this question is stupid. Also sorry for my English.

Most, if not all of you reading this have probably heard of the Schrödingers cat- a theory based on superposition, stating that a cat in a closed box has a 50/50 chance of being alive or dead.

Most of the time when I read about the Schrödingers cat in simplified explanations, the explanation implies that in superposition, the cat is both alive AND dead at the same time, in the same reality. And I was wondering, is this really a good interpretation of this theory?

From the way I understand it, the cat »may as well« be dead or alive from the perspective of you, the observer.

If the only way for me to in any way observe the cat in the box, is to open the box, and if neither me or the cat have any influence on each other until i physically see the state of the cat with my own eyes by opening the box, then again, the cat may as well be dead or alive to me.

But, that wouldn't mean the cat is in two states at once. It is only either dead or alive. Say a mouse named Fred was in the box with the cat (this mouse is immortal and isn't affected by whatever can kill the Schrödingers cat, for the sake of the argument). It can see that the cat is there, and can observe wether or not it is dead or alive- collapsing the possible superpositions of the cat, relative to Fred. Me, looking at the box, has no idea that Fred's in there- as much as i have no idea of the cat's livelihood, which means that the cat is still in superposition for me. But Fred sees that the cat is alive meaning that it really is in only one state at a time.

If I transfer these assumptions to an atom in superposition:

An atom, to my understanding, is considered to be a sphere of influence. And an observation, is any sort of interaction with a force or particle by (in this case) an atom.

So by this logic, is an atom that isn't observed by anything, really even there? And if an atom in superposition would truly be in two positions at once, therefore influencing it's surroundings in two positions at once, what if it gets observed, therefore collapsing it's wave function into one sphere of influence; was the other superposition of the atom, that wasn't observed truly even there in the first place? And if it was, is there any circumstance in which an atom in superposition, after being observed, still stays in two or more positions at once? And is it possible that quantum entanglement is particles in superposition, that haven't collapsed their wave function?

If possible, please do not write a simplified version of the answer- I truly want to know the answer to at least one of these questions so I can actually wrap my head around superposition. Please include math as well if needed (I assume it is needed).

Thanks for reading :)

Most, if not all of you reading this have probably heard of the Schrödingers cat- a theory based on superposition, stating that a cat in a closed box has a 50/50 chance of being alive or dead.

Most of the time when I read about the Schrödingers cat in simplified explanations, the explanation implies that in superposition, the cat is both alive AND dead at the same time, in the same reality. And I was wondering, is this really a good interpretation of this theory?

From the way I understand it, the cat »may as well« be dead or alive from the perspective of you, the observer.

If the only way for me to in any way observe the cat in the box, is to open the box, and if neither me or the cat have any influence on each other until i physically see the state of the cat with my own eyes by opening the box, then again, the cat may as well be dead or alive to me.

But, that wouldn't mean the cat is in two states at once. It is only either dead or alive. Say a mouse named Fred was in the box with the cat (this mouse is immortal and isn't affected by whatever can kill the Schrödingers cat, for the sake of the argument). It can see that the cat is there, and can observe wether or not it is dead or alive- collapsing the possible superpositions of the cat, relative to Fred. Me, looking at the box, has no idea that Fred's in there- as much as i have no idea of the cat's livelihood, which means that the cat is still in superposition for me. But Fred sees that the cat is alive meaning that it really is in only one state at a time.

If I transfer these assumptions to an atom in superposition:

An atom, to my understanding, is considered to be a sphere of influence. And an observation, is any sort of interaction with a force or particle by (in this case) an atom.

So by this logic, is an atom that isn't observed by anything, really even there? And if an atom in superposition would truly be in two positions at once, therefore influencing it's surroundings in two positions at once, what if it gets observed, therefore collapsing it's wave function into one sphere of influence; was the other superposition of the atom, that wasn't observed truly even there in the first place? And if it was, is there any circumstance in which an atom in superposition, after being observed, still stays in two or more positions at once? And is it possible that quantum entanglement is particles in superposition, that haven't collapsed their wave function?

If possible, please do not write a simplified version of the answer- I truly want to know the answer to at least one of these questions so I can actually wrap my head around superposition. Please include math as well if needed (I assume it is needed).

Thanks for reading :)