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Schrodinger's Cat - Inside Out

 
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Simon



Joined: 19 Sep 2006
Posts: 2
Location: London

PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 6:15 am    Post subject: Schrodinger's Cat - Inside Out Reply with quote

I have an expansion of Schrodinger's celebrated thought experiment in mind. My aim here is take to this to another level and allow the effects of the uncollapsed wave function (in which the cat is said to be neither dead or alive) to be witnessed. For those who say that wave functions can't be witnessed, I refer you to the interference pattern clearly observed in the twin slit experiment.

Before proceeding further, I'd like to start this thread by first exploring the most contraversial angle. This involves imagining the cat experiment performed exactly as Schrodinger described - but in reverse.

You are inside a completely sealed room. Outside is the cat, the lethal canister of gas and the radioactive crystal that might or might not decay. All of this is seen by the rest of world - except you.

The crystal passes it's random crisis point.

From your point of view, what has happened outside the room? Is there an uncollapsed wave function? Are the two possible realities in a state of flux until you open the door? Does it still remain a matter of probability whether the cat is alive or dead? Or are you aready in a world in which one or the other outcome has definitely occured, simply because there are other observers out there who have collapsed the wave function for you?

Whether you endorse the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics or the Many Worlds view, I have a feeling there will be no clear consensus on this.

Nevertheless, views are welcome. Wink

Simon
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Klatu
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 11:55 am    Post subject: Schrodinger's Cat - Inside Out Reply with quote

Simon,

What would be the significance of knowing the answer to your question?

Schrodinger's cat example was designed to simplify a very complex problem into a rather simple set of every day events so that anyone could understand the complexity of probabilities, as it relates to the particle/wave theory.

Your example sounds more like a person in an atomic bomb shelter not knowing when or if the big one has been dropped.

But to get to the gibblets of your question... No question about it , whatever events occur outside of the box will be unannounced to the person on the inside. The only way to know if the particle is now a wave or vise versa is to make an observation.
It is not that the wave function collapses only when someone is looking, it is more the manner of the way we look(measurment) and how we think (math) about the event we observe.
It might be that the very act of making a measurement on such an elementary particle imparts energy into the particle and pushes the particle's absorbable energy limit over the edge causing it to become a wave... and vise versa.

Heir Schrodinger's cat must have experienced numerous inhuman experiments in it's short nine lives, just to acheive the humble recognition it now gets.

K
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Simon



Joined: 19 Sep 2006
Posts: 2
Location: London

PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The significance lies in a view of quantum theory that is still endorsed today - the Copenhagen interpretation. It says that the outcome following any quantum event cannot be said to have a fixed state of reality until collapsed into existence by observation/interaction. Schrodinger's cat was originally used to challenge this notion. Copenhagen defenders take the thought experiment seriously and see it as a perfectly valid illustration.

If the cat is inside a sealed chamber, and you are outside - according to the Copenhagen view, what has transpired inside the room has no fixed state until you open the door.

I'm not saying that the Copenhagen view gives us the whole story. But suppose its correct. What happens if you are inside the room, and the cat's 50/50 chance of death happens outside and is witnessed by the rest of the world? From your point of view, is the rest of the world in a state of quantum flux, with no fixed state until you open the door?

I imagine some Copenhagen theorists would answer: "No. The cat's fate was witnessed by conscious observers outside. There was no wave function to collapse because others did it for you. The presence of these conscious observers meant that there was a fixed state of reality outside the room. If there were no observers to the cat's fate, it would have been in a state of flux with no fixed reality".

Such a view gives no reality to anything outside our direct observation. The cat presumably doesn't count as an observer.

It's not surprising that the multiverse is now the most popular competing
model among quantum theorists.

Simon
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Lunar Hotel



Joined: 15 Sep 2006
Posts: 350

PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 11:07 am    Post subject: Here Kitty Kitty. Here, Kitty Kitty . . . Reply with quote

Simon wrote:
This involves imagining the cat performed exactly


You obviously have never owned a cat.






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bivia



Joined: 25 Sep 2004
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 6:09 pm    Post subject: The world is in superposition Reply with quote

The answer is relatively easy.

You are substituting the cat's condition for the waveform; when the waveform collapses, you have a purring kitty or a furry doorstop. But the thought experiment is not about the cat -- the box entangles the fate of the cat with the fate of the radioactive particle. This means that both are in superposition. Indeed the whole internal box.

If you invert it, then the outside world is in superposition until you observe the world outside your box.
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