Schrödinger Cat Experiment
The world is mysterious. Once a mystery gets solved another hundred appear. That’s insane right. Yeah, nature, the world, the universe the whole thing we could ever imagine is on their own. They are always in their mood. Humans are here to understand this flow. Science has explained so many things, built so many rules but the mystery continues.
So let it be. But talking about mystery always hits the word, quantum mechanics. Probably the mysterious part of science in as many ways as possible. Today I’m here to talk about an experiment done By Schrödinger, The cat’s experiment. Where a cat can be alive or dead at the same point in time. That sounds really awkward, right?
Yeah, I know. Let’s start recovering the full drama.
First of all, physics is the theoretical part of all applications in Science. It has three main parts Classical Physics, Quantum Physics, and Modern Physics.
We all aware of classical mechanics in real life. Where we study the past of a matter and we can predict the future of the matter or we study the presence of a substance to observe how it was in the past.
By classical mechanics we can predict full moon, new moon like various incidents. In Classical mechanics, we always study things based on some obvious theory. But here we study matter we can see.
Here we can make a decision based on the experiment. It’s always predictable.
What if there is unpredictability in Physics?
Then there comes Quantum Mechanics, where we tend to study the behavior of relatively small particles. Where results and predictions are not obvious.
Here we study the behavior of particles like electron, proton which we can’t see naturally. This topic here is the rule-breaker. You can’t predict a result based on an experiment. Cause here one experiment can provide millions of possibilities.
If you perform one experiment at different times you can get different results. It’s totally unpredictable.
Today we talk about the superposition principle in Quantum Mechanics. The principle predicts that one thing can be in multiple states in a single time. Like if there is a car, it can be either in motion or stable. Quantum mechanics want to say that the car can be simultaneously in a dynamic and static state. If you trust reality, you will say that’s impossible right?
So scientists want to say that this only happens for small particles. But the objects what we see in real life are consisting of those smaller particles. So how could be the results different?
So here comes the Copenhagen Interpretation. Scientists Niles Bohr and Heisenberg have come up with this groundbreaking theory. According to this theory in the outward system, a matter can be in different states at the same time.
That’s getting crazy right?
How they explained it?
In quantum mechanics, a matter can be understood by waves. Scientists consider each state of the object as a wave. The superposition of all these waves makes the matter. So a matter or thing can be in each of the superposed states differently at the same time. That’s called the superposition principle.
what happened to this principle when we observe them?
The scientists also explain that case. When we tend to observe them, their system gets collapsed. Then they show only one state at that time. If I want to say in a deep sense, the observer manipulates them to be in one possible state. But that’s only what we see. Till then also it is in all the possible states. Only we are seeing the one state what we really want to see. After that, they go back to their superposed state.
I can explain it with some examples.
Consider this lockdown situation. You are in your room. You can watch Netflix, you can scroll through Facebook, you can chat with friends, you can call your girlfriend or you can read. These are only some possibilities you can do in your room.
Now consider them all as a different wave. Your normal routine is superposed of all these waves I mean all the possible stuff you usually do. Now when your mom or dad comes into the room. You always come to the state where you always read. If you consider your mom or dad as the observer. Then your system is collapsed and you come to the one state of reading.
Obviously, that’s the observer’s manipulation. Cause if you are not reading they will be mad for sure. So that’s one type of manipulation. That’s why your system breaks down to one single state depending on observers. Like we all know, when the observer is gone, you come back to your reliable states may be the superposed state.
Now Schrödinger understands the superposition principle. But he wasn’t convinced by the observation part. His question is why the system will depend on observation or act of measurement.
So he did a thought experiment. The thought experiment is a kind of experiment which will not surely provide defined results. But it can give us a better understanding of a complex interpretation or theorem.
The experiment is like the following,
A cat is placed in a steel chamber. In a Geiger counter, there is a tiny amount of radioactive substance, so tiny that may be within an hour one of the atoms decays, but equally, it is also possible that none of them decays. The set up is connected with a hammer. If the atoms decay, the counter will trigger then the hammer will break down the pot of potassium cyanide placed under the setup. But there is also a chance that no decay happened and the hammer stays in its position all the time. So as there is 50- 50 chance, from outside we can only say that either the cat is alive or the cat is dead.
This experiment provides a better explanation of Copenhagen’s interpretation. How?
Ok, consider the two probable states of the cat as the waves. If the hammer breaks the bottle the cat will be dead that’s one wave, but either way, the cat is still alive, this is another wave. But we can’t say the exact state of the cat before opening the box. So as long as the box is locked both the waves are superposed means the system is in a superposed state of both the possible states. But when we open the box, the system of the experiment will be broken and it will show one of the incidents suitable for the system of the observer.
That’s the historical experiment Schrödinger did. As I earlier said that was not for defining any result, it was for getting a better understanding of the Copenhagen Interpretation.
But, what if that’s true?
If I want to say the answer in one word, the impossible word will totally be erased. Basically think about the interpretation. It can lead to a multiverse formula. Like a thing in different states possible in a different universe at the same time.
The universe will be filled with endless possibilities. If we go for an example, it’s like there will also be a universe where Hitler won the 2nd world war, maybe the world war didn’t happen there. There may be a universe where the corona vaccine already discovered or Corona didn’t spread. Maybe we found a universe where mankind becomes much more advanced or they are still living in the woods. Maybe we found a universe where Thanos won the endgame. There will be all types of possibilities.
Do you remember the Avengers Infinity War scene where Dr. Strange was seeing possible futures. It’s just like that. There will be every possibility of a matter at the same time at a different universe.
That also leads us to play with time. That’s insane you know. The scientist can then make a time machine or a spaceship faster than light. Then Dark web series will be true. No, it’s getting crazy now.
Look this universe or multiverse or how big you can express is full of impossibles. It’s really difficult to reveal all the mysteries. But the thing is here if we don’t consider observer then a matter can be in different states possible at the same time or in a superposed state.
That’s all for today. Do you have any interesting opinions about this experiment? Let me know in the comment section below.