On this day 84 years ago, Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger published his popular 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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Coalmont woman airlifted after ATV crash

Off-road vehicle swerved to miss oncoming traffic

Summerland campground to provide COVID-safe accommodations for temporary farm-workers

The managed seasonal worker campsite will be located within a separated area of Peach Orchard Municipal Campground

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

Princeton high school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

Bench plaque recognizes former Summerland firefighter

Volunteers with fire department set up plaque in honour of Richard Estabrooks

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

Coalmont woman airlifted after ATV crash

Off-road vehicle swerved to miss oncoming traffic

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

No abandoned Seadoo found on Coldstream lake

Vernon Search and Rescue crews and RCMP unable to find reported abandoned Seadoo on Kal Lake

Kelowna high school football star, water skier, signs with University of Calgary

Isaac Athans, and his family, have a long history of success across various sports in the Okanagan, nationally

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Shuswap resident spots waterspout near Salmon Arm

The rare weather event was spotted early in the morning on July 4.

Most Read