Wednesday, June 14, 2006

He's Dead, Jim!

You know what I've always thought of as the litmus test of geekery? People who get a cat and then name it 'Schrodinger' or some such derivation. It's just slightly less cliche' then naming your sailboat "Windsong" or "The Money Pit". Say what you will about me... "Stigmata" is not something you see stenciled across a transom on almost any day and if you did see it you were looking at me.

Anyway, that's not what this post is about. I know I haven't posted for real in close to a week. Thank the random electrons for post dating. I have three big posts about what's been going on this week. If you know the week we've been having you don't even know the whole story. If you don't know what I'm talking about then you're Ricketyfunk who lives too far away to attend trivia nights in Salem or you were at trivia night this week and wondered where I was or you're one of my Boston friends and we really need to call a beer night badly but not this week because my week is going awry. Or you're BlueGirl, AG or OrgamiYoda and defy mere pigeon holing. Or you're from Penn State and wish you knew what I'm talking about. Having said all that, it has nothing to do with Lisa and babies. We're on track there but the train is a local not an express.

Like I said there are three posts coming that will explain what's been going on this week. One about the cat, one about Car Insurance in Massachusetts and how truly great it is to be a citizen of the Commonwealth and one explaining what the fuck I'm talking about. I'm not sure in what order yet.

Today's post is about Quantum Mechanics.

The thing about the whole Schrodingers Cat Experiment that has always bugged me. Especially if you subscribe, as I do, to the Copenhagen Interpretation that the cat is either alive or dead until the box is opened and then the cat is killed by the mere act of making the measurement so that no exact answer may be made is that if one dilates time the cat will be dead. That's an awfully long sentence. The cat is alive or dead. Taking a measurement will collapse the wave function enough to ensure the death of the cat. Now throw in some Special Relativity. Put the cat in a box but then run away really quickly such that we do not age in an hours time but the cat ages 30 years (average cat lifespan, indoors 20 years, outdoors 2 years) and then tell me that the measurement won't be a garaunteed dead cat. The superposition of live verses dead cat for any time frame is measured as one hour but still is relative to the frame of inertia for the observer such that the cat will always be dead and therefore diminishes the effects of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. The cat, when moving, before measurement is both a wave and a particle; alive and dead, however change inertial frames of reference for the observer and the answer is always going to be dead.

I swear I'm not high right now.


Anonymous Imee :P said...

I'm so glad that I pass the litmus test for geekery. It's a proud, proud day for me and Schro. Haha

Jun 15, 2006, 7:44:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

So, you feel you've managed now to scientifically prove that cats can be dead?

Jun 15, 2006, 9:34:00 AM  
Blogger RicketyFunk said...

I think that the best cat names are always linked to famous leaders. Chairman Meow, for example. You could call him "the Chairman," and give him a special red bed with a gold star on it.

I would tend to agree with you on the fact that the cat is dead, to a point. I had a fellow student in college who was very interested in 'the Schrodingers Cat' because he was trying to prove that through quantum physics, he could establish a sound philosophical argument for the existence of free will. I didn't agree with him, but that's because I have my own set ideas on the cycles of nature that don't really have much to do with controlled experiments. They have their place in my over-arching theory but they don't fit as far as the hypotheticals go.

One more thing to consider though is that if you change your inertial phrame of repherence you are changing the nature of the experiment.

Jun 15, 2006, 9:52:00 AM  
Blogger Origami Yoda said...

Have you read The Dancing Wu Li Masters : An Overview of the New Physics by Gary Zukav? You'd love it. I gotta hit this trivia night scene. Glad to here the train is on track.

Jun 15, 2006, 9:42:00 PM  
Blogger coffeesnob3 said...

dead cat=good cat.
So says Lee.
I'm not drunk now.
ok, I am.

Jun 15, 2006, 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger RicketyFunk said...

I had a fellow student who was obsessed with Schrodinger's Cat as a way to prove that there is such a thing as free will. If you add your approach of modifying the frame of reference it works against his free will argument by reducing human activity down to a mere timeline. I have no free will over the fact that I will die. It's gunna happen, someday.

Jun 22, 2006, 2:27:00 PM  
Blogger Dean ASC said...

Well, my argument isn't so much that the cat will die of old age. It's that the atomic decay will take place. The probability is such that it would be absolutely impossible for there to be no decay event during your hour if the time dilation for the cat lasts 30 years, as shown in the "Twin Paradox". Yes the cat will die of old age but in all probability the neutron event will drop the hammer into the vial of prussic acid long before your the cat even gets hungry, never mind starves to death because you've forgotten to put food or water or possibly even air holes into its box.

Jun 22, 2006, 7:13:00 PM  
Blogger RicketyFunk said...

Yes indeed. I had to brush up on my knowledge of the experiment to get it, but I do see you point now.

The lectures that this guy gave in Philosophy Club meetings seemed to focus more on the free will debate over and above the cat.

Of course, I've forgotten most of what he was talking about as well. I'm good at forgetting.

Jun 26, 2006, 3:33:00 PM  

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