What Is Schrödinger Known For

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What Is Schrödinger Known For
What Is Schrödinger Known For

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Video: Schrödinger's cat: A thought experiment in quantum mechanics - Chad Orzel 2023, January

Erwin Schrödinger was the most famous Austrian scientist and one of the founders of quantum mechanics. He worked in the field of theoretical physics and even received the Nobel Prize for his work. But Schrödinger is best known for a different reason.

What is Schrödinger known for
What is Schrödinger known for

Erwin Schrödinger was a highly respected and well-known figure in academia. He worked with quantum theory and obtained the results of calculations, which later formed the basis of wave mechanics, derived the so-called "Schrödinger equation", for which he was awarded the highest award of the scientific world - the Nobel Prize. In addition, Schrödinger is the author of many works in the field of physics, as well as the book "What is life?", Where he approaches many issues of the origin of life on the planet from the point of view of physical laws. However, the Schrödinger's paradox is best known in the world.

Experiment with a cat

Schrödinger's cat is a special experiment conducted by this famous physicist to prove the imperfection of calculations in quantum mechanics, when the laws of the microscopic world turn into the macroscopic one. Its essence is as follows: a cat is locked in a certain box. The animal itself cannot open the box, nor does the observer. Together with the cat, a small amount of a dangerous radioactive substance is placed inside the box. During the time that the cat is sitting in the box, one atom of this substance may decay, but it may not decay. No one knows exactly when this will happen and whether it will happen at all. If the atom nevertheless decays, the reading tube on the Geiger counter in this box will move to the side, which will set in motion a small hammer that will break the flask with hydrocyanic acid installed there in advance. Escaping, hydrocyanic acid will poison the cat, he will be dead in a matter of seconds. However, if such a tiny change as the decay of a single atom does not occur, the cat will be alive.

Explaining the importance of experiment

If you leave this structure with a radioactive substance, poison and a cat alone for a while and do not look into the box, then it will be impossible to predict whether the cat is still alive or already dead. The chances of his survival and death will be equal in the absence of observation. That is, the uncertainty of the microscopic world in this case turns into the uncertainty of the macroscopic world. And it can easily be eliminated with simple observation.

In quantum physics, such a phenomenon is called superposition, when two indefinite states are mixed, for example, in the absence of observation, the nucleus of an atom is simultaneously considered both decayed and non-decayed. By observation, the scientist can accurately determine the outcome of the decay or poisoning of the cat. The problem is to correctly answer the question: when does the transition from one state to another occur? Quantum theory, as Schrödinger's experiment shows, does not yet give all the answers and remains incomplete without some rules that should explain at which of the many moments the atomic nucleus decays and the cat ceases to be alive. There is no state that was intermediate between the decay and non-decay of the nucleus, the life and death of a cat, so quantum physics must accurately determine the moment of transition from one state to another.

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