Thursday, February 23, 2023

Schrödinger’s cruelty to animals

My sixteen-year-old daughter Sara is fascinated by physics, and this evening, she asked me questions about quantum mechanics. I did my best to explain my understanding of the history of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, first in terms of observers measuring the position and momentum of particles, and then in terms of a fully probabilistic interpretation of quantum mechanics. (My neighbor doing her doctorate in physics would surely correct the details.) When I began to explain Schrödinger's cat, I immediately thought that she would not like the idea of the cat dying – and she didn't. Her reaction made me wonder about why Schrödinger formulated his thought experiment in terms of cruelty to animals. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 23 February 2023)

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