Schroedingers's lunchbox
January 26, 2003 1:41 PM   Subscribe

Schroedinger's Lunchbox Quantom physics on an empty stomach is probably a mistake.
posted by konolia (16 comments total)
In his thought experiment Schroedinger places a cat and a ham sandwich in a box. As soon as the box is sealed, the observer does not know in which state the contents are. The ham sandwich and the cat could still exist side by side, but the cat could also have eaten the sandwich.

In the ultimate pursuit of science, I have decided to test and quantify this experiment with my girlfriend's cat. I have sealed the box that contains a delicious ham sandwich and "Mr.Frisky" completely airtight and will not open it until another 12 hours.

Results pending.
posted by Stan Chin at 1:49 PM on January 26, 2003

Ah, but did you butter Mr. Frisky first?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:54 PM on January 26, 2003

Hmmm... interesting proposition Mr. Davis, perhaps I can still implement this. Here's what I'm going to do: since I cannot open the box without risking the controlled environment of the experiment, I will instead place a stick of butter on top of the sealed box. Then I will place the box (with the butter on top) into the microwave, and the melting butter will seep into the box and thus the cat.
posted by Stan Chin at 2:01 PM on January 26, 2003

You forgot the toast.
posted by konolia at 2:07 PM on January 26, 2003

The bread from the Ham Sandwich will be toasted when I microwave it. Trust me I'm a scientist, I watched Mr. Wizard, I know what I'm doing.
posted by Stan Chin at 2:08 PM on January 26, 2003

I read somewhere (but I can't find the link) that Schrodinger was trying to point out the stupidity of the wave/particle theory when he put forward the "Cat in a box"(TM) theory.

[disengage brain]
Personally I believe that the fact we're not waveforms proves that Aliens exist...
posted by twine42 at 2:20 PM on January 26, 2003

doh... I should have finished that post before pressing preview...

The cat is a waveform because there is nothing observing it. On the same theory, my fiance and I are waveforms because no-one is watching out house. If no-one is watching the earth, we are all waveforms.

Since, when I walk through a narrow door, I don't find two of myself on the wall ahead of me, I can't be a waveform, so aliens must be watching us from space.

Hah! And they said I was too cynical for my tin foil hat...
posted by twine42 at 2:23 PM on January 26, 2003

no, too sexy.
posted by quonsar at 2:26 PM on January 26, 2003

Schroedinger's Cat is absurd because, of course, the cat qualifies as an observer. The thing to do is knock the cat over the head with a lead pipe beforehand, then place the dead cat in the box with the uranium, etc. Then, if you open the box and the cat is alive, you know exactly as much about quantum mechanics as you would had you done the experiment the traditional way, but you also resurrected a cat, which is pretty cool.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 2:32 PM on January 26, 2003


quonsar - I hate you... do you have any idea when right said fred was last in my brain? :)

As it happens it was last time they were on TOTP2, but that's beside the point...
posted by twine42 at 2:33 PM on January 26, 2003

IshmaelGraves - No, the cat isn't an observer because the box is the area of observation.

Besides, it's dark in that box...
posted by twine42 at 2:34 PM on January 26, 2003

Outside of a dog, a book is a mans best friend.

Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

*waggles moustache*

(thankyou, thankyou, I'll be here all week...)
posted by twine42 at 2:36 PM on January 26, 2003

well, one time i made some sandwiches for work but then i didn't make it to work because i got run over and i went back home and ate my sandwiches there and they tasted really nice. so that disproves that theory entirely, and the whole of quantum mechanics. nice one.
posted by mokey at 4:43 PM on January 26, 2003

cling free!
posted by quonsar at 5:42 PM on January 26, 2003

And don't forget Schroedinger's fridge!
posted by starvingartist at 6:53 AM on January 27, 2003

twine42: as I understand it, Schroedinger was attempting to illustrate that quantum-scale effects (specifically, uncertainty principle) do not make any sense at the macro scale.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:20 AM on January 27, 2003

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