Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Schrodinger's Cat

  1. Jun 6, 2006 #1

    i'm sure everyone here knows about "Schrodinger's Cat" paradoxical thought experiment. what will actually happen if we actually perform it? could it defy QM? if not, will the cat be dead and alive at the same time?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 6, 2006 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    It is only a thought experiment, since it can't be practically recreated in real life.

    Anyway, the point is, we can never observe the cat being alive AND dead, since the moment we observe it, we collapse the wave function and pick one of the options.

    i.e. when we open the box we find the cat either alive or dead. No matter how many times we repeat the experiment**, we open it and find a cat either alive or dead, completely in accordance with decay rate calculations.

    (**assuming we use a different cat each time. If we don't, well eventually we'll able to accurately predict the outcome: still dead, still dead, still dead... :biggrin: )
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2006
  4. Jun 6, 2006 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    We can't do the Schrodinger Cat experiment, mainly because the measurement of "dead" and "alive" are not defined. However, we can do a Schrodinger Cat-type experiments, and we have! Refer to the Stony Brook/Delft SQUID experiments. The results show that the superposition of two orthorgonal states produces the coherence energy gap as predicted by QM.

  5. Jun 6, 2006 #4
    The cat is too big and interacting with too much in the universe for it to keep up its magic trick for more than the tiniest instant. :biggrin:
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook