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

Health upgrades in South Okanagan and Similkameen forecast to cost nearly $10 million

Capital projects include CT scanner, medical vacuum system, ultrasounds and more

Princeton mayor issues invite to Royals, despite resident concerns over who pays for security

The Town of Princeton will officially invite Prince Harry and his wife… Continue reading

COLUMN: Pre-clearance changes at Canadian airports

Some believe these expanded powers may be contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Okanagan among Canada’s most at-risk habitats: WWF report

Report found the Okanagan is inadequately protected despite being a hotspot for at-risk species

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Like many in British Columbia, you may be worried about running into… Continue reading

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

B.C. man rescued after getting trapped headfirst in well as water level rose

The rescue involved crews from Oak Bay and Saanich

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

Most Read