Tuesday 29 November 2022

quantum superimposition (10. 343)

Devised by Erwin Schrรถdinger with interlocutor Albert Einstein as a thought experiment and refined and published on this day in 1935 in the monthly journal Naturwissenschaften (The Science of Nature), a hypothetical feline is suspended between life and death—both simultaneously—its fate linked to a random and subatomic change that may or may not happen. Motivated to point out the counterintuitive and paradoxical nature of the prevailing theory, called the Copenhagen Interpretation that holds that a quantum system (an atom or a photon that can act both like a particle or like a wave) remains in a state of being added together until it interacts with or is observed by the external world. Although intended as a rebuke of the current understanding of quantum mechanics, others have extended this idea of alive-dead cat as a manifestation of the effects of vanishingly small changes on a macroscopic Cosmos and construe from it the Many-Worlds (alternate realities) interpretation application of the branch of physics. It is a matter of fundamental debate whether measurement or observation causes such a juncture to collapse into one state or another or both continue to exist but are decoherent from each other, splitting into separate universes. A “cat state” has been produced in the laboratory for short periods on collections of electrons and ions as well as in quantum computing.