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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP offer update on recovery of illegal firearms, stolen vehicles in North Shuswap

$12,700 worth of pet food found in July 2019 search of Leopold Road property

Suspect reported head-butting Chase RCMP officer during arrest

Charges laid include break and enter, assault, resisting arrest and assault causing bodily harm

Award recognizes Salmon Arm homes, buildings for heritage value

Honours to be presented during Heritage Week, Feb. 17 to 23

Downed power lines block North Shuswap road

Close to 1,500 people are without power

Hundreds race, thousands raised at Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet

More than 400 skiers participate in annual event at Shuswap’s Larch Hills

VIDEO: Canada’s first presumptive case of coronavirus officially confirmed

Both patient and wife arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Quintet jazzes it up with Okanagan-wide talents

Justin Glibbery group brings twist of jazz and pop

Trans-Canada closed east of Golden due to avalanche hazard

The highway is estimated to reopen around 7 p.m.

Penticton Indian Band stands in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en

“We’ve lived in this area for 10,000 years, and our knowledge is being disregarded…” - Chad Eneas.

National Pie Day call-out: Pies wanted for annual Best of the Shuswap contest

RJ Haney Heritage Village puts out the call for entries for annual fundraiser

Former Hells Angels associate in Kelowna court on gun, drug charges

Former Angels associate Dale Habib appears in Kelowna court

Most Read