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#186672 - 10/12/07 07:45 AM Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework)
ak Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/10/04
Posts: 1491
Like an idiot, I am taking another class right now, else of my photography one (which I am taking good pictures in, but not getting good scores on tests in). And the first issue is to try to explain the theory of shrodinger's cat. I have read this, many times at this point, and can not quite get the philosophy of it. My 'wants to be a teacher' roommate is gone for few days. My other roommate says 'it's that thing where the cat can be alive and dead at the same time' but can't explain it. Is this something explainable? It seems like it is suppose to 'illustrate' a period of like, 'suspension', where two opposites can exist at the same time, until you have to say which it is, and then of course, you have to look at the cat?

I'm very confused with it. Does anyone know of this thing that I'm talking about, who could explain the 'theory' of it?

Andrei


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#186673 - 10/12/07 08:52 AM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: ak]
FLRich Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 1404
Androsh,

Sorry buddy...quantum mechanics is way beyond my small brain's grasp. You are talking about Shrodinger and Einsein here. I'm with Leshka on this one.


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#186676 - 10/12/07 09:01 AM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: ak]
MemoryVault Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
Wow. This is a fun one...

Little known fact: Shroedinger didn't actually believe the cat was both alive and dead...he was trying to make a case that this interpretation of quantum physics didn't make sense.

The idea is that subatomic particles...say, electrons, aren't in any specific place, unless you're measuring them. They're spread out over every possible place they could be. If an electron has a 50% chance of being here and a 50% chance of being over there, and you're not looking at it, it IS 50% here and 50% over there. But when you set up a detector, you force the electron to be somewhere specific...it "decides" where it is, but that decision is totally random. Lots of particle behavior, like nuclear decay, works that way...random, and indefinite until it's measured.

So Shroedinger said "Let's set up a situation where a cat's in a box and its life or death depends on the decay of an atom that has a 50/50 chance of decay." (If the atom decays, it releases some poison.) Since the event doesn't "decide" whether it's happened or not until it's observed, that would mean that the cat isn't alive or dead (or it's in both states) until the box is opened.

Some physicists say, "yeah, that's right"--others point out that the cat may count as an observer. There are all sorts of alternative ways to look at it, but the standard view of quantum physics does suggest that the cat's both alive and dead.

Hope this helps!

David


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#186696 - 10/12/07 10:26 AM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: MemoryVault]
Dewey2k Offline
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Registered: 08/22/05
Posts: 3069
Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle certainly comes in to play here as well. The Principle in its simplest form states that we can not know the location of a particle and its speed at the same instant in time, and this applies to other similar paired-properties of particles.

The other portion of this is that we can not observe something without changing it in some way. To see something, we need photons to bounce off of it, and the energy of those photons may heat or move the object being observed.

Quantum mechanics is all about probability: the probability that an electron will be in a particular orbit around a nucleus, or that a photon will be at a particular point in space, for example. When a particle has a probability of being some where, some times it will be, and some times it won't be, but we won't know for sure until we look for it, and then we change it.

One might argue that particles are everywhere at once because they have a minute probability of being there at any given point in time, and the same goes for the properties of that particle (charge, spin, color, etc). It isn't until we look for it in a specific place that it becomes a physical particle in a particular state.



Edited by Dewey2k (10/12/07 10:26 AM)

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#186697 - 10/12/07 10:38 AM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: Dewey2k]
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Andrei, I'm with Rich on this one. Us two simpletons will sit on the sidelines and admire the bigger brains at work. \:\)

_________________________
Eddie

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#186702 - 10/12/07 11:04 AM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: EGL]
MemoryVault Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
Why survivors are like particles:

We're not too clear about where we are and where we're going.
If you make us tell you exactly what state we're in right now, we really have no idea where we're going next.
We can have enormous energy, but it doesn't last very long.
We don't behave like anything you're familiar with.
We can sometimes do what's supposed to be impossible.
The world is made up of us.


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#186708 - 10/12/07 11:50 AM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: MemoryVault]
Dewey2k Offline
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Registered: 08/22/05
Posts: 3069
MV,

Very funny, and very profound at the same time. Thanks for posting.


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#186716 - 10/12/07 01:15 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: Dewey2k]
cbfull Offline
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Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Ohio
You guys did a pretty good job of expaining that.

One thing I didn't see is the fact that it is a thought experiment only, to try and better understand why you cannot measure both the momentum and the position of an electron at the same time, but you can separately.

The cat is neither alive nor dead until you look in the box. For this example, our eyes are the detector and the cat cannot be both alive and dead at the same time.


Wikipedia to the rescue!

_________________________
Craig

Guilt and shame have never done any of us any good at all.

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#186731 - 10/12/07 03:11 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: cbfull]
kellygtx Offline
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Registered: 07/11/07
Posts: 412
Loc: Texas, USA
Guys -

WTF! I am so glad I am an accountant!! I don't care if the cat is alive or dead - but I can help him with his estate in any case.

_________________________
I bid you Peace.

Kelly

The time is always NOW. Breath In. Breath Out. Move On.

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#186735 - 10/12/07 03:16 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: kellygtx]
EGL Offline
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Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Well, our family cat hates me so I say any dead cat is a good cat (with apologies to those here that love theirs).

_________________________
Eddie

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#186737 - 10/12/07 03:29 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: kellygtx]
Trish4850 Offline
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Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey


I'll just hang out over here till you guys figure it out

Trish

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#186739 - 10/12/07 03:35 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: Trish4850]
kellygtx Offline
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Registered: 07/11/07
Posts: 412
Loc: Texas, USA
Trish -

Don't forget - I can handle your estate planning or your estate administration - depending upon the state you are in. ROFL!

_________________________
I bid you Peace.

Kelly

The time is always NOW. Breath In. Breath Out. Move On.

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#186742 - 10/12/07 03:47 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: kellygtx]
pietie Offline
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Registered: 01/23/07
Posts: 326
Loc: South Africa
I am so glad I wont have to write a business plan on this issue, that will simply not make sense!!!

MV if you ever release a book on "THE PHYSICS OF A SURVIVOR" let me know I will help you market it!!!

Sorry AK for highjacking your post, but everything Dewey and MV said - the first time.

_________________________
Not Perfect, just forgiven

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#186757 - 10/12/07 04:32 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: pietie]
Dewey2k Offline
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Registered: 08/22/05
Posts: 3069
I used to run nuclear reactors for the Navy, and quantum physics applies to some extent on how the reactor works. Science in general is a hobby of mine, so I pick up on things in a wide variety of disciplines...


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#186800 - 10/12/07 08:05 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: Dewey2k]
melliferal Offline
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Registered: 11/03/05
Posts: 1159
I love science also, but I have trouble with quantum mechanics. A lot of it is too counterintuitive; my beloved laws of ordinary physics don't transfer very well when you get down to subatomics. It's not fair, dammit.

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Children cannot consent; they can only comply.

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#186826 - 10/12/07 10:07 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) *DELETED* [Re: melliferal]
nicky Offline
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Registered: 08/24/07
Posts: 261
Post deleted by nicky

_________________________
i like the rain cause no one knows im crying

a strong man is one who is able to control himself when he is angry
what is your definiton of control?

i lay awake another hour
just like the one before
the shadows play a game with my head
i can't take this anymore

http://youtube.com/watch?v=x4EOw8wPBN8




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#186838 - 10/12/07 10:35 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: nicky]
Dewey2k Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/22/05
Posts: 3069
Subatomics are where it's at though...

I had this theory about Dark Matter... maybe I'll share it some time \:D


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#186917 - 10/13/07 01:02 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: Dewey2k]
melliferal Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/03/05
Posts: 1159
Not a fan of WIMPs?

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Children cannot consent; they can only comply.

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#186919 - 10/13/07 01:09 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: melliferal]
Dewey2k Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/22/05
Posts: 3069
Sure I am! WIMPs are awesome, but I think DM is some crazy stuff. The only way we can see it is through gravity, and since it repels itself (and only itself) with a stronger force than gravity, it gravity tractors everything away from everything else as it repels, hence the increasing rate of expansion.



Edited by Dewey2k (10/13/07 01:09 PM)

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#186921 - 10/13/07 01:16 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: Dewey2k]
melliferal Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/03/05
Posts: 1159
But then you've got the effects of MACHOs as well. Perhaps dark matter is too broad a label and we're in fact dealing with a couple of different kinds of stuff.

ETA: Uh oh, it seems MACHOs have been eliminated as explanations of DM. Shows how well I'm keeping up I suppose...



Edited by melliferal (10/13/07 01:25 PM)
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#186965 - 10/13/07 07:31 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: melliferal]
cbfull Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Ohio
You guys are cracking me up. I am a science hobbiest myself and I like to build my own Van De Graaffs and other high-voltage toys (tesla coils and plasma globes).

For me, string theory is where it's at because it is so beautifully intuitive and I believe it can explain any phenomenon. Using the concepts of string theory I can explain how electric, magnetic and gravitational forces are all literally tied together and are all a result of local variations in the speed of light (this is not proven so please don't get annoyed at me for saying that, it's just my own personal understanding). I don't know what to think about these dark matter and dark energy theories, so far I'm not a fan of the concept.

I'm so glad someone has brought all this up, I didn't know there were any other survivors that liked this kind of crap. My Van De Graaff is my favorite because it is "interactive". There's just something amazing about safely charging up your whole body to near 500,000 volts and throwing a 12" spark out of your fist.

_________________________
Craig

Guilt and shame have never done any of us any good at all.

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#186970 - 10/13/07 08:02 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: cbfull]
FLRich Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 1404
OK, Androsh...You've managed to get the guys to do your homework for you. I always say use the resources at hand!


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#187128 - 10/14/07 06:48 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: FLRich]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16265
Originally Posted By: EGL
Andrei, I'm with Rich on this one. Us two simpletons will sit on the sidelines and admire the bigger brains at work.


Make that three simpletons! I'm in!

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#187135 - 10/14/07 07:09 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: WalkingSouth]
ak Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/10/04
Posts: 1491
Well, I am the simpleton also. But I will say, it is not a physics or quantum mechanics class, but instead a philosophy class based on 'paradoxes'. So hopefully most of them will not be this difficult to understand. Thank you all, for helping to explain it in ways that I could 'get' more.

Andrei


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#187156 - 10/14/07 08:26 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: ak]
melliferal Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/03/05
Posts: 1159
Many paradoxes are a lot easier to understand than Schroedinger's Cat. They only become tough if you try to solve them - and some of them just can't be solved.

_________________________
Children cannot consent; they can only comply.

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#187254 - 10/15/07 10:36 AM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: melliferal]
soapy bubbles Offline
Member

Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 332
Loc: london
It would be easier if the damned cat stayed out of boxes altogether.

_________________________
"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.” --- Eleanor Roosevelt

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#187290 - 10/15/07 02:27 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: soapy bubbles]
Leosha Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 3614
Loc: Right here
At least the dam cat in the box, alive or dead, isn't attacking MY dog!

Bah, humbug, cats.

Leosha

_________________________
Avatar photo in memory of my younger brother Makar.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~~~Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

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#187380 - 10/16/07 05:25 AM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: Leosha]
ak Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/10/04
Posts: 1491
I thought this was funny, after the discussion. I wonder if the teacher would find it to be funny if I include the picture with the assignment.



Andrei


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#187383 - 10/16/07 05:57 AM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: ak]
dgoods Offline
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Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 622
Loc: Richmond area
Urm, it's funny, but I think it's a snarky response to a female sexual proposition- maybe not best for schoolwork?
(besides, the box has been opened, a measurement has been made, the cat's state is fixed- the wave has collapsed.)

_________________________
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, Sc. III

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#187385 - 10/16/07 06:37 AM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: dgoods]
MemoryVault Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
Andrei --

Hand in a closed padded box, and say that your assignment may or may not be in there. You want to be graded on the uncollapsed waveform. You'll get both a 100 and an incomplete. \:\)

David


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#187390 - 10/16/07 07:27 AM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: MemoryVault]
ak Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/10/04
Posts: 1491
It is of something sexual? I did not know that, I do not understand of how that is? Sorry.

Andrei


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#187391 - 10/16/07 07:31 AM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: ak]
dgoods Offline
Guest

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 622
Loc: Richmond area
"Box" is crude slang for "vagina".
I'm glad I mentioned it!

_________________________
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, Sc. III

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#187396 - 10/16/07 08:04 AM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: dgoods]
ak Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/10/04
Posts: 1491
Originally Posted By: dgoods
"Box" is crude slang for "vagina".


Not in my country! ;\) But thank you!

Andrei


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#187552 - 10/16/07 11:53 PM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: ak]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16265
LOL!!!

I've been highly entertained by this thread over the last few days. Thanks for starting it Andrei. \:\)

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#187562 - 10/17/07 01:15 AM Re: Shrodinger's cat??? (evil homework) [Re: WalkingSouth]
ak Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/10/04
Posts: 1491
Well, I am glad you was entertained John! I am also glad to have better understanding so that I could do the stupid assignment. I am thinking this class is perhaps not a good idea, but we will see.

Andrei


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