Schrödingers Cat
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Schrödingers CatThe cat which is not happy with the experiment

Why is this cat so famous?

Erwin Schrödinger was one of the people who researched quantum mechanics. Like his colleagues, he thought quantum mechanics had very big philosophical consequences. But they did not agree with each other what this consequences would be like. So he proposed an experiment to enlighten the consequences, but actually this experiment has further mystified the consequences of quantum mechanics to the public:

The Experiment:The box

We need a box which can be closed. In this box we put one radioactive atom, which has a probability of 1/2 to break during our experimentation time, for example one hour.

We also need a detector which can notice when the atom is broken.

the radioactive atom, the detector and the poison

This detector is connected with a mechanic device, so it can set some poison free.

If the atom breaks, the poison is set free. There is enough poision to kill the cat. Now we put the cat in the box and close the box.

Why should somebody in his right mind want to do this to a cat?

Common sense tells us, the cat will be either alive or dead after one hour, each with a probability of 50%.
But if you take the arguments of some physicist literally, the cat must be in a state that is neither alive nor dead, but something completely different. Unfortunately, they also say you can not open the box to see this strange state, because when you open the box the state disappears (so you should not experiment with your neighbours cat).
To enlight why somebody in his right mind might insist on such a strange opinion, we have to look at some of the results of quantum mechanics:

Let's go to the wavelab!