Does anyone think it is odd that people can celebrate their three hundred and seventeenth birthdays, for example, thanks to Google illustrations? Odd even though the illustrations themselves are fabulous. Today is Erwin Schrödinger's birthday—he of the is-it-alive/is-it-dead cat. Are you aware of the thought experiment, Schrödinger's Cat? I hear 'quantum mechanics' and it's like my neurons run away and find something else to do, but as far as I can work out, it is a paradox whereby a 'thing' can be said, at a given stage, to be in either of two different states simultaneously. He was talking sub-atomical but to illustrate it in a more (ha ha ha) 'comprehensible' way he chose a cat. Imagine a cat is in a box. No animals were hurt in this thought experiment by the way. And, I am sure, someone will be able to explain this much better. In the box is a geiger counter and an infinitely tiny amount of radioactive substance. If, and is unknown whether it will, the substance decays within an hour a hammer smashes a tube of hydrocyanic acid and the cat dies. (Remember, no real cat). Because you cannot see in the box, and cannot determine what has happened to the substance, there is the idea that the cat is both dead and alive at the same time because it can't be determined that it is definitely one or the other. The same applies, apparently, to atoms where they are quantumly seen as both possible states simultaneously because it is impossible to determine they are wholly one or the other. Eeouw. Brain freeze. I tell you this only because of something I heard eavesdropping on a group of students in Hay-on-Wye. One person asked if it has to be a cat. 'Could it not be,' she asked, 'Schrödinger's Carrot?' For reasons as inexplicable as quantum physics, I found that hilarious. Still do. Did I lose you?
Who wore it better?
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