Apr. 11th, 2017

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Most people have heard about the famous quantum physics thought experiment "Schrödinger's Cat": one places a fictitious cat into a sealed box with a quantum random number generator (a radioactive source that decays very slowly, for instance) and a means to kill the cat should some quantum event happen (e.g. that a radioactive decay happens). The Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics states that the cat, whose state of being alive or dead depends on a quantum process, is therefore both alive and dead at the same time until someone opens up the box and observes the cat, at which point the universe must decide whether the cat is alive or dead (but not until then). No cat has ever been subjected to this "experiment", but it has been done with subatomic particles and particles do exist in superposition (in many states at once) until an observation is made and cause "the wavefunction to collapse" into one state that, if we observe a short time later, will still be in that one state (presumably if we keep looking, it will stay in that state forever unless disturbed somehow). We are trying to build computers based on this principle now (with some success).

Here is one interpretation of that experiment... things... things don't go so well for Schrödinger or the Cat. Wow, this is pretty messed up stuff... but is great animation and storytelling (and a great and amusing, and kind of terrifying, soundscape)!

Dead or alive? Not Dead or Alive...


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