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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Day 218: Happy Birthday Schrödinger

I am ashamed. I am sure I can tell you guys this in confidence and you won't judge me too harshly. I, in the absence of any alternative beside a hot dog from a service station, had brunch at MacDonalds. The evil Maccas. It's okay because I won't venture there again for a while. There comes a point in any MacDonald's meal (mine was a Grand Angus and medium fries) where to continue is to doom yourself to an afternoon of queeziness, and I was proud to not get that far. I put down the rest of the burger, swept aside the remaining fries, hoed into the possible deal-breaking raspberry macaron (no ill effects from the latter, can there be ill affects of a macaron), and so I am a little proud of myself despite finding myself in the place in the first instance. It is all the fault of macarons really. Bear with me while I go through the thought process here. A television producer somewhere decided to make a show where amateur people cook in a competition to become that particular country's Masterchef. The smorgasbords of fabulous feasts they were tasked to make included things like the humble macaron escalated to a little pocket of multi-flavoured desire. People at home watched Masterchef and thought: I can do that. They did. People had restaurant quality meals at home, artfully displayed and experimentally flavoured. People didn't go out for dinner. Restaurants closed down. The local coffee shop/toasted cheese and ham sandwich with dijon mustard shop closed down. We couldn't get breakfast. We went to MacDonalds. See, all because of macarons.

List_Addict               Irene

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?


The Outfit
Jumper: Op-shopped
Skirt: Op-shopped
Tutu: ModCloth
Necklace: CCJJSS
Shoes: Irregular Choice (new, arrived this week and I love them to pieces. Look at the bottoms. How cute are they?)


Photographer de Jour: Moi


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4 comments:

  1. By george, I think I've finally got it! The cat experiment, I mean. You've explained it in a way I can understand, and I'm *married* to a physics major. Thanks for all this and for linking up to Visible Monday! xox

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  2. I once sent out a work phone list with an cover email explaining why it was like Schrödinger's Cat. B---- was shocked because, although she was used to my quirkiness, she didn't think I would share it with the whole office. The link was that some people would open the phone list file and it was entirely correct. Other people would open the phone list file and there would be errors that needed fixing. At any point in time it was both correct and incorrect.

    I like the phrase Schrödinger's Carrot, but how do you tell whether a carrot is alive or dead?

    This is my current favourite comic, it relaxes me each time I read it:

    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/quantum_mechanics.png

    ReplyDelete
  3. So inexplicably expressible to express the inexplicable.

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  4. So fabulous!

    Thanks for linking up with Style Sessions.

    Lauren xx
    www.stylelixir.com

    ReplyDelete

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