On this day 84 years ago, Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger published his thought experiment, ‘Schrödinger’s cat,’ to counter the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics. (Stock photo)

On This Day: 84 years ago the world was introduced to the theory of Schrödinger’s cat

The Austrian physicist developed the thought experiment to counter the Copenhagen Interpretation

Exactly 84 years ago today, Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger published his famous thought experiment ‘Schrödinger’s cat.’

You may have heard about the theory on the popular TV show The Big Bang Theory, but what you may not know is that Schrödinger developed it to counter the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, according to IFLScience.com.

According to the site, the Copenhagen interpretation states “that an object in a physical system can simultaneously exist in all possible configurations, but observing the system forces the system to collapse and forces the object into just one of those possible states.”

Schrödinger, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics just two years before this, disagreed with this premise and thus came up with an analogy, or thought experiment, about a cat being trapped in a box with a vial of poison, a hammer, radioactive material and a Geiger counter.

READ MORE: On this day: Ford changes the car industry with introduction of Model T

The idea is that there would only be a minuscule amount of radioactive material in the box, so there is a 50 per cent chance the Geiger counter would detect it within one hour as it decays.

The system would be rigged so that if the Geiger counter detected radioactive material, it would release the hammer which would smash the poison vial, killing the cat.

When you apply the Copenhagen interpretation to this scenario, the cat would be considered both alive and dead until someone opened the box to confirm.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: On this day 44 years ago, SNL began!

“Of course, Schrödinger claimed, that was ridiculous. Quantum superposition (Copenhagen interpretation) could not work with large objects such as cats, because it is impossible for an organism to be simultaneously alive and dead,” states the IFLScience website. “While many people incorrectly assume Schrödinger supported the Copenhagen interpretation behind the thought experiment, he didn’t. His entire point was that it was impossible.”

It was later proved that quantum superposition does work, but only for tiny things, like electrons.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Summerland college operated from 1906 to 1915

Ritchie Hall and Morton Hall were constructed for Okanagan Baptist College

South Okanagan volunteer dental clinic donates rotten teeth to good cause

H.E.C.K. recently gifted 47 rotten teeth to a search and rescue group in the area

Okanagan Similkameen could have a sister city in the south of France

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen considering agreement with wine region in southern France

Summerland businesses participate in Sip N’ Shop

Downtown event on Dec. 14 will feature local beverages

Noxious odour detected at Summerland Health Centre

Staff felt nauseous following incident on morning of Dec. 5

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

West Kelowna house fire demonstrates danger posed by candles

West Kelowna Fire Rescue says an unattended candle caused the Sunday afternoon fire.

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

Slippery sections reported on Okanagan and Shuswap highways

Some sections of the Trans-Canada highway have black ice on them.

Most Read