Schrodinger’s Cat

Way back when, in my early 20’s I came across a novel called Schrodinger’s Cat – I’m sure that those of you who are interested in quantum physics and alternative states of reality may well have heard of it.  Well, it’s been on my mind for several months now – not sure why but there you go, these things come to haunt us for a while.  I discovered it was out of print but I purchased a used copy on Amazon a couple of days ago and it has finally arrived.  I shall relive some of my youth reading this book again.

Anyway, the purpose of this post wasn’t really to talk about my purchase of the book, but to explain a little about what schrodinger’s cat actually is.  No, it isn’t the name of a famous composers favourite pet, but rather is the title of a thought experiment devised by Erwin Schrodinger that was devised to demonstrate the quantum theory of superposition – in other words can something be in two places/states at the same time – the answer is of course Yes.  In this particular case, a cat is locked in a steel box with a poison of some description, a small amount of radioactive material and the box is sealed.  If a small amount of the radioactive substance decays it triggers a relay mechanism that breaks the vial of poison and so kills the cat – however, as we aren’t in the box and are unable to see what has happened to the box, the cat is still both alive and dead at the same time – the observers paradox if you will because the outcome doesn’t exist until it has been observed!

This brilliant little cartoon may help to explain it far better than I can!

And now that I’ve had my blog for the day, I’ll go to bed with my new/old book!  And by the way, no animals were harmed in the making of this blog article – in fact to my knowledge this experiment has never been performed, it is just a  THOUGHT experiment!

Leave a Reply


  1. That I guess is the nature of exploration isn’t it – there is always some theory or other to change based on what has been discovered. And there we were assuming we already knew all there was to know 🙂

  2. Disproved is not a word I would have chosen. There are questions to answer but then, there always will be.

  3. Thanks for the comment and isn’t it true that much of the theory of relativity is now being disproved, simply because of the great strides in the Quantum world 🙂

  4. I find it utterly bizarre that so few folk know even the basics about quantum physics. Ask Joe Dope in the street about relativity and you’ll get a reasonable synopsis. Ask about quantum mechanics and they look at you like you’ve grown another head! Yet, arguably, relativity has given us very little day-to-day, whilst quantum mechanics has given us lasers, CDs, DVDs, computing, internet, &c. No contest.
    I was struck by the reality paradoxes inherent in quantum physics many decades ago and it still haunts me today.
    Great post: thanks