Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Cat with only one life

The question of Schroedinger's cat, which has consumed top-level physicists and very stoned geeks over the past 100 years has reared its ugly head once again. The question Schroedinger raised states in essence that if a scenario exists where a cat could be isolated from external interference (decoherence), the state of the cat can only be known as a superposition (combination) of possible rest states (eigenstates) because finding out (measuring the state) cannot be done without the observer interfering with the experiment — the measurement system (the observer) is entagled with the experiment.

The thought experiment serves to illustrate the strangeness of quantum mechanics and the mathematics necessary to describe quantum states. The idea of a particle existing in a superposition of possible states, while a fact of quantum mechanics, is a concept that does not scale to large systems (like cats), which are not indeterminably probabilistic in nature. courtesy of Wikipedia

Or in other words, if you put a cat in a box it could be dead or it could be alive and until you find out, you don't know it could be both or it could be neither.

But the question of whether the cat is dead or alive was finally answered today by physioveterinarian Mark Fowells, who in a groundbreaking study published in Nature, pointed out that regardless of the action of the atomic-based poison gas release system indicated in the experiment, after three days or so the cat is pretty much dead.

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