Monday, August 12, 2013

Verschränkung and Schrödinger's cat

Google's latest doodle marks the birthday of Erwin Schrödinger, the Nobel prize-winning quantum physicist whose eponymous equation lies at the heart of quantum mechanics.

He repeatedly criticised conventional interpretations of quantum mechanics by using the paradox of what would become known as Schrödinger's cat. This thought experiment was designed to illustrate what he saw as the problems surrounding application of the conventional, so-called "Copenhagen interpretation" of quantum mechanics to everyday objects.

Schrödinger proposed a scenario with a cat in a sealed box, wherein the cat's life or death depended on the state of a subatomic particle. According to Schrödinger, the Copenhagen interpretation implies that the cat remains both alive and dead (to the universe outside the box) until the box is opened and the function collapses.

For those who haven’t read Schrödinger or are not familiar with the man’s character - Schrödinger was a debonair, passionate, poetic philosopher and a romantic baronessck. He wrote books about the ancient Greeks, on philosophy and religion. He was influenced by Hinduism, flamboyant, cool, suave, sophisticated, dapper dresser and a big hit with the ladies.

It is said that Schrödinger’s promiscuity was legendary, having a string of girlfriends throughout his married life – some of them much younger than him. In 1925, the 38-year-old Schrödinger stayed at the Alpine resort of Arosa Switzerland for a secret liaison with an old girlfriend. It’s said that their passion proved to be the catalyst for Schrödinger’s creative genius.

Another physicist said of Schrödinger’s week of sexually inspired physics  - he had two tasks that week, satisfy a women and solve the riddle of the atom. Fortunately he was up to both. Schrödinger argued, crucially, that the electron was the wave of energy, vibrating so fast it looked like a cloud around the atom and went on to develop what is now known as the Schrödinger equation.  This describes the wave [completely] and hence the atom in terms of traditional physics. 

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