What is wrong with saying Schrodingers cat has some known chance of being alive in just the same way as we say we have a 1 in 36 chance of throwing double six - By Mats Andorson and by Krister Sundelin - Quora Question Review

This document contains a review of the answer by Mats Andorson and by Krister Sundelin on the question in Quora: "What is wrong with saying Schrodingers cat has some known chance of being alive in just the same way as we say we have a 1 in 36 chance of throwing double six"
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1. Answer Review by Mats Andorson

Because that’s not the point.

The point is that once you have rolled the dice, but before you look, it is not either double six or something else, it’s both double six and something else. Both at the same time. Until you actually look, all possibilities exist at the same time, even the extremely unlikely ones such as the dice being on top of each other.

In all experiments, the outcome of every experiment does not matter if an observer looks or does not look. The only thing that is important is that the outcome of an experiment with two dices is only valid when the two dices are at rest.
That’s what the mathematics seems to tell us, and experiment bears this out. And yet it is clearly absurd, and the whole point was to show that it is absurd; Schrödinger’s own words were “One can even think of quite ridiculous examples”, and then comes the cat.
Mathematics has nothing to do with this i.e. the outcome of the experiment.
Of course, the modern view is that the cat itself is quite enough as an “observer”. What the discussion is about is exactly when the wavefunction collapses, a concept which doesn’t make much sense without the advanced mathematics.
The outcome of Schrodingers cat depents completely about the amount of radio active elements and the half-life time involved. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-life. This has nothing to do if you look or does not look to the experiment.
But the underlying idea of “both at the same time” can be demonstrated with a fairly simple experiment in physics, called the “double slit experiment”. Take a laser. Point it at a plate with two narrow slits. Put a white screen some distance beyond the plate. You would expect to see two blobs on the screen, one for each slit. You don’t. You see alternating bands of light and dark.
It is wrong to compare the behaviour of an experiment with light, with an experiment using elementary particles or throwing dice.
General speaking each experiment should be explained independently from the others.
What happens is that the light acts like a wave. It passes through both slits at once, and you get interference. You can do exactly the same thing with a wave in water.

Now, turn the laser down. So far down that only one photon at a time is emitted. You still get the interference pattern. Every single photon interferes with itself – it goes through both slits at the same time. Now, this is absurd. You put a detector at each of the the slits; now you can see which one it goes through. And sure enough, you only ever see the photons go through one of the slits. And you get two blobs on the screen. The interference is destroyed, because you forced the photon to go through only one of the slits. It went through both slits until you looked at it. Just like the cat was both alive and dead until you opened the box.

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2. Answer Review by Krister Sundelin

A: There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just that the experiment is not about the chance of the cat being alive or dead. That is even part of the premise of the experiment: you tune the radioactive sample so that it has 50% chance (1–3 on a six-sided dice) in one hour of releasing the particle which will release the hammer which will smash the cynaide bottle which will kill the cat. The interesting thing is what happens before you roll the dice, when the cat is in a superpositioned state of 1–3=alive and 4–6=dead at the same time, as it would be according to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics. Because that is what the Copenhagen interpretation says: as long as you don’t look, all possible states of the radioactive samples happen at once. They are superpositioned. And since the detector is in the same system, its release/non-release is also superpositioned, which means that the hammerfall/non-fall is also superpositioned, which means that the smash/non-smash of the cyanide bottle is also superpositioned, which means that the dead/live cat is also superpositioned – until you open the box, and the superpositioned state collapses to one or the other.
That is a very complex explanation. What do you expect is the difference between any experiment "as long as you always look" or the same experiment "as long as you never look" or only once after a very long time.
There is no difference. An observer has nothing to do with the outcome.
Or in other words, the experiment is about how absurd it is to have a cat which is both dead and alive as long as you don’t roll the dice.
From a physical point a cat can never be dead, alive and dying.


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Created: 28 May 2024

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