Archive for January, 2013

Schrödinger’s Cat

January 11, 2013

schrodingers_catNow let’s look at another thought experiment, that of Schrödinger’s Cat. This thought experiment is supposed to confound the micro and macro worlds of quantum physics and ordinary, human-size physics. A cruel device is built consisting of a closed box which contains a sample of radioactive material, a mechanism to release poison into the box if an atom of the radioactive material decays, a living cat, and a door that must be opened to reveal the condition of the cat to an external observer.

The story of the experiment goes that if the observer waits to open the box until there is a 50% probability that an atom decays, the state of the cat (hidden in the unopened box) to the observer will be both alive and dead. The cat’s so-called wave-function will be a superposition of the wave-function of a live cat and that of a dead cat, which will collapse into one or the other only by the opening of the door and the observation of the actual condition of the cat. This is called the Copenhagen Interpretation.

Some say that the detector of the poison release mechanism will be the true observer in this experiment, and before the external observer opens the door the cat will be definitely alive or dead because of the action of the mechanism. This might be considered the objective collapse theory. Others say that the world splits in two between a world where the cat is alive and one where the cat is dead. This is called a many-worlds interpretation.

There seems to me a similarity between Maxwell’s Demon and Schrödinger’s Cat. The fourfold elements of the experiment are shown above, but now consider these elements in a system in terms of Aristotles’s Four Causes. The material causes are the discreet constituents of the experiment, everything from box to atoms to cat to observer. The efficient cause is the decay or non-decay of a radioactive atom. The final cause is action of the observer in opening the box. The formal cause is the poor cat in its ambiguous state, simultaneously both dead or alive.

It doesn’t make too much common sense to say that the opening of the box and the observing of the cat “causes” the atom to have really decayed or not, and so concretize the past and the cat into a certain way of being, but that is mostly what the Copenhagen Interpretation is saying. Indeed, Linear Logic, which has been described many times on this blog, has been used to describe aspects of quantum physics for decades.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger%27s_Cat

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copenhagen_interpretation

[*7.138]

<>


  Bartosz Milewski's Programming Cafe

Category Theory, Haskell, Concurrency, C++

The Inquisitive Biologist

Reviewing fascinating science books since 2017

Paleofuture

Every Fourth Thing

Simplicity

Derek Wise's blog: Mathematics, Physics, Computing and other fun stuff.

COMPLEMENTARY 4x

integrating 4 binary opposites in life, learning, art, science and architecture

INTEGRATED 4x

integrating 4 binary opposites in life, learning, art, science and architecture

Playful Bookbinding and Paper Works

Chasing the Paper Rabbit

Antinomia Imediata

experiments in a reaction from the left

Digital Minds

A blog about computers, evolution, complexity, cells, intelligence, brains, and minds.

Social Systems Theory

A blog inspired by Niklas Luhmann and other social theorists

philosophy maps

mind maps, infographics, and expositions

hyde and rugg

neat ideas from unusual places

John Kutensky

The way you think it is may not be the way it is at all.

Visions of Four Notions

Introduction to a Quadralectic Epistomology

Explaining Science

Astronomy, space and space travel for the non scientist

Log24

Every Fourth Thing

Ideas Without End

A Serious Look at Trivial Things

Quadralectic Architecture

A Survey of Tetradic Testimonials in Architecture

Minds and Brains

Musings from a Naturalist

Quadriformisratio

Four-fold thinking4you

Multisense Realism

Craig Weinberg's Cosmology of Sense

RABUJOI - An Anime Blog

Purveyors of Fine Anime Reviews and Ratings Since 2010

Intra-Being

Between Subject and Object

The Woodring Monitor

Every Fourth Thing

FORM & FORMALISM

Every Fourth Thing

Log24

Every Fourth Thing

The n-Category Café

Every Fourth Thing

ECOLOGY WITHOUT NATURE

Every Fourth Thing

PHILOSOPHY IN A TIME OF ERROR

Sometimes those Sticking their Heads in the Sand are Looking for Something Deep

Networkologies

Online Home of Christopher Vitale, Associate Professor of Media Studies, The Graduate Program in Media Studies, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY.

DEONTOLOGISTICS

Researching the Demands of Thought

Aberrant Monism

Spinozism and Life in the Chaosmos

Object-Oriented Philosophy

"The centaur of classical metaphysics shall be mated with the cheetah of actor-network theory."

Objects & Things

objects & things, design, art & technology

%d bloggers like this: