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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Schrödinger's Cat?

I'm going to be posting twice today! And here comes the infinite silence in place of cheers and whooping.
But yes! This first post is going to be something a little special. This past week, I created a newsletter, creatively (not) titled "OPINION." It's about what it says. Opinions on various things. But I did throw some fun things in there, such as this next piece that I will share with you.

SCHRÖDINGER'S CAT? Paradoxes have been pondered over for centuries.  From physics to logic, there are some things we just can’t wrap our head around.

Schrödinger’s Cat is just one example of the many paradoxes that plague today’s world.

The situation describes a cat in a steel box. The cat is put inside either with some poisonous gas. In one minute, the poison will either be leaked, or nothing will happen. There is a fifty percent chance of either situation happening. However, we don’t know which outcome will occur.

In the end though, once we open the box, only then will we learn of the cat’s fate.

Here is where the paradox lies. While the cat is in the box, there are two outcomes. Once the box is opened there is only one. So, while the cat is in the box, it will either see the poison being leaked, or it will see nothing. Regardless, however, until the box is opened, we cannot be sure.

Quantum physics wise, it is said that the cat is a sort of equilibrium, in which it is neither dead nor alive. Only when the box is opened does one disposition have to be chosen. Confusing, right?

Of course, there have been many theories about this cat. Some say, there could be a parallel universe, one in which the cat is dead, one in which the cat is alive. Others stick with the previous theory: a state is chosen when the box is opened.

In the end, though, this is one of the biggest paradoxes that still elude us.


The Grandfather Paradox is a bit easier to understand (as it is not physics); but still is a brain twister nonetheless.

In this paradox, we have to use our imagination a little bit.

A young man travels back in time (of course, we have to imagine that this were possible). When he reaches “the past,” he murders his grandfather. How is it then, he is born in the future to go back and murder his grandfather?

This paradox is all about time. If the young man did manage to kill his grandfather, then how is it his father, and eventually he himself was born? If he were never born, that would mean he would have never travelled back in time, which would mean he would never murder his grandfather. This circles back around to the logic that if his grandfather never died, he still has the young man’s father, who still has the young man who started this mess.


Albert Einstein was the one who thought of this paradox. His idea started out with two identical twins. One of the twins travelled into space (in a spaceship travelling near the speed of light). The other stayed on Earth. The twin that went into space continued travelling at the same speed for a while, and then decided to turn back home. However, when he arrived back, he discovered that his twin had aged significantly more than him.

Here is where the mind twister comes in. Because the twin in space is travelling so fast, time is dilated. Meaning, that for him, time goes slower than for his other twin. Therefore, when he comes home, more time has passed than he has recorded.

So much for being identical.


So that was my little bit. I hope I interested you (though I seriously doubt that, considering I was talking about quantum mechanics at one point), and even if I didn't, I just proved that I am more of a geek/nerd than anyone first thought.

~ Banana Win


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