Tuesday 1 February 2022

Box from 1935 finally opened: Schrödinger's cat is definitely dead

Vienna (dpo) - A chance finding has finally provided the answer to a question we have been asking for nearly a century: is the cat dead or alive? The cat in question being the famous ‘Schrödinger’s cat’ who gained that name for taking part in an experiment of the same name. The animal was locked inside a box with a vial of poison for the experiment and the question could only be answered by opening the box. Archivists at the University of Vienna have now found the box and have therefore been able to answer the question: the cat is unmistakably dead.

“It is fair to say that it has been dead for quite a while already”, archivist Ernst Bebner tells us. He originally discovered the box in the basement of a university building. “Even after such a long time, the vial of poison was still intact. Sadly, the poor animal probably died of thirst.”
When you think about it, he was never quite with it: Erwin Schrödinger
The original intent of Nobel Prize winner Erwin Schrödinger (1887–1961) was to demonstrate the quantum mechanical state of uncertainty, whereby the cat is neither dead nor alive until a measurement is taken, i.e. the box is opened. However, afterwards, it appears the absent-minded physicist just forgot about the cat.
“I am very sorry that it is dead,” Bebner sighs. “I am not sure what impact this has on quantum mechanics, but hopefully scientists will soon be able to provide some clarity on that.”
In fact, scientists are already working meticulously on a modification of the experimental setup so they can reuse Schrödinger’s thought experiment. In this new version, the vial of poison is to be exchanged for a strong voodoo witchcraft elixir. Afterwards, the box is to be resealed, causing the cat to hover again in a state of uncertainty between dead and not dead until the box is reopened.
ejo, dan, ssi; picture [M]: Shutterstock; first published 2017-11-22
Read the German version HERE.
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