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  • Vishnu Chakravarti


In 1935, Erwin Schrödinger, a renowned physicist, devised a thought experiment as a paradox of quantum superposition. Based on quantum mechanics, the experiment was hypothetical. So what exactly was this experiment you may ask?

The experiment involved placing a cat in a completely sealed box, impervious to any outside inspection. Inside the box, is a device similar to a Geiger counter, poison and radioactive material whose atoms may or may not decay in an equal probability.

If the atom does decay, the Geiger counter detects the radiation and triggers a hammer, breaking over the vial of poison and killing the cat. However, if the atom does not decay, the Geiger counter remains the same without opening the vial of poison and the cat lives. Therefore, in a nutshell, the fate of the cat is based on a random subatomic event that may or may not occur.

Keeping all this in mind, one can consider the cat to be both alive and dead at the same time. Now, what are the

implications brought upon the experiment? Since it is a ‘thought’ experiment, never actually done in real life and merely a tool Schrödinger used to display how many were misinterpreting quantum theory.

Now, many theoretical interpretations can be carried out by this simple experiment. A few theorized applications are the possibility of a human being both

alive and dead at the same time. Applying a superimposition on cell degeneration, attaining a form of immortality. Another way to apply it was the multiverse theory, where one wished to exist in two places at the same time, by achieving a subatomic

state of existence. The experiment involves the idea that there are two simultaneous states and only when any one of the two states is detected or interacted with does it gain activeness.

Chen Wang, an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst says, “[The Schrödinger equation] is like a modern version of Newton’s law.”

In short, the experiment was created by him as a response to a theory of quantum mechanics known as the Copenhagen Interpretation, to show the shortcomings of a few physicists’ theories.

The implications and possibilities of Schrödinger’s cat are endless. If we do decide to carry out this experiment, researchers will observe how the microscopic quantum world will affect the macroscopic world!

Schrödinger’s cat-pictorial representation

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