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I Ask My Cat, Stella, About Schrodinger’s Cat

We ask a real cat about the new ideas circulating on the famous physics thought experiment.

Michael Leaverton  |  Jun 1st 2016


Schrodinger’s cat once again entered the news cycle the other day, causing lay persons the world over to think about things they have no business thinking about, like a cat in a box who is simultaneously dead and alive. In a study, Yale University’s Chen Wang added another box to the famous thought experiment, which made Schrodinger’s cat simultaneously dead and alive in both boxes, causing countless people to pause while drinking their morning coffee and stare off into space for a moment, lost in thought about cats and death and boxes and maybe a little sex at the end before shaking their heads and heading off to work.

With all that in mind — and with my grasp of Schrodinger’s cat in disarray if not outright shambles — I asked my cat, Stella, about Schrodinger’s cat.

stella-move

“First, I’ll need a box — and a chicken.”

Stella, have you heard of Schrodinger’s cat?

That cute little kitty down the block?

No, Schrodinger’s cat is thought experiment.

Pretty sure she’s a Persian.

I mean Schrodinger’s cat is not a real cat.

Oh, she’s real all right. I can see her cat tree from our window, and it has five levels. You could learn something from this Schrodinger.

I’ve been trying to. You see, Schrodinger’s cat is a paradox, and it —

Oh, good lord. A Paradox cat? When are you humans going to stop with the breeding? Next thing you know you’ll have a cat called Absolute Zero.

I doubt that.

How do you explain the Nebelung and the Toyger?

There is no Paradox cat, Stella. Schrodinger’s cat is a theory from 1935, not a cat.

Oh, you should have said that. Lay it on me.

Well, according to the latest news, if you have two boxes and one cat, the cat can somehow be simultaneously dead and alive in both of them. 

Of course he can. You didn’t do well in physics, did you?

I never took physics.

It shows. Do I have to explain quantum superposition to you?

No. Maybe. Yes.

Listen, would it blow your mind to know that right now there’s a cat who looks like me and a guy who looks like you and we’re doing the same things only in reverse?

It would blow my mind very much. 

Your galaxy twin had the same reaction.

Really?

Just some physics humor, Feynman.

Oh. Well, can you explain Schrodinger’s cat to me, then? I’m having a little trouble with it.

I’ll bet you are. How about we start at the beginning?

Okay.

Listen closely: Wet food is the kind of food in the can, with the little pull top on it. You grasp the can in one hand and use your other to —

I know how to open cat food, Stella.

Good to know! Let’s have dinner.

Go back to sleep, Stella.

"The first rule of quantum physics is chicken." (Photo by Gina Cioli/i-5 Studio)

“The first rule of quantum entanglement is chicken.” Photo by Gina Cioli/i-5 Studio