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#5 - diddymonster (05/13/2013) [-]
Comment Picture
User avatar #120 to #5 - weirdojones (05/14/2013) [-]
I don't understand the whole schrodingers cat thing. Can someone please explain it to me in a "quantum mechanics for dummies" way
User avatar #132 to #120 - nogphille ONLINE (05/14/2013) [-]
cat + poison in box
poison only to be released on a random occurrence
is cat alive or dead?
is both until you look.
User avatar #127 to #120 - allamericandude (05/14/2013) [-]
This should be perfect for you:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOYyCHGWJq4
#123 to #120 - errdayimfjing (05/14/2013) [-]
I'll see what I can do. Basically, when the cat is placed in schrodinger's box or whatever you want to call it, it has two different possible outcomes. The cat inside could either be dead or alive when you look in the box. You have no idea whether the cat has died in the box until you actually open the box and take a look yourself. So in it's current state it is both alive and dead at the same time until you actually open the box and look to confirm either outcome. So in this way, it is in a superposition between being alive and dead. The point of this was, I believe, was to quantify electrons and find where they were on an atom. Whenever you looked at the electron with light, the light would actually push the electron out of the way, so the electron that you saw actually wasn't in the right position. So they had to come up with a way to find out where the electron was without looking in the "box" hence the electron's superposition. Also has something to do, i think, about how our choices effect the future. If we don't look in the box, the cat's "alive", but if we do and the cat is dead, then we "killed" the cat. So, curiosity killed the cat I guess. Hope that helps!

User avatar #184 to #123 - deliciousdee ONLINE (05/14/2013) [-]
I give you a hamburger
User avatar #131 to #123 - allamericandude (05/14/2013) [-]
You've got the jist of it, but towards the end you're kinda confusing superpositions with Heisenburg's Uncertainty Principle. The Uncertainty Principle is the one about not being able to tell the positions of electrons without messing them up. Superpositions are a bit more complex than that--it's not just the position of the particle that's uncertain, but also it's properties: like the spin, or whether it acts as a wave or a particle. Superpositions get into some heavy-hitting stuff like quantum field theory. Heisenburg's Uncertainty Principle could--in principle--work with or without quantum mechanics, and that's the key difference.
User avatar #153 to #131 - errdayimfjing (05/14/2013) [-]
Oh thank you for correcting me. Like I said, I'm a little confused on the subject as well. Do you mind explaining how quantum mechanics are different and explaining a little more about what it means? LIke I think I've heard the thing before with electrons (releasing bursts of energy rather than just an even flow of light as a particle) and how things can change and be different each time we look at it or something like that if it makes sense, but could you enlighten me a bit more on the subject if you don't mind? Also did you get this off of Minute Physics?

Btw nice profile pic
User avatar #155 to #153 - allamericandude (05/14/2013) [-]
Phew...where to begin.

The most important thing about quantum mechanics is quantum field theory. This is the idea that the universe is actually made up of fields that permeate all of space. When you excite these fields with energy, you get a particle (E=mc^2)--which are like little waves or ripples in the fields. Electrons and photons are excitations of the electromagnetic field. Quarks and gluons are excitations of their respective fields--they go on to make protons and neutrons and stuff. The Higgs Boson is an excitation of the Higgs field (which is why scientists were so excited to find the Boson, because it proved the existence of the field.) Basically, the universe is made of fields, and particles are what we see when we try to look at the fields.

The second most important thing about quantum mechanics is that it is probabilistic. (This is where superpositions come into play.) Due in part to the Heisenburg Uncertainty Principle, the fields that permeate space aren't entirely smooth--they actually fluctuate randomly at the smallest scales. And it really is random--this bugs a lot of people, and many have tried to prove it isn't random, but all so far have failed. You can never predict the state of a quantum field at any one time (which is somewhat good news, because it proves that predetermination is impossible, and gives hope to the idea of free will--but that's another topic). But you can predict the probability of a certain state under some given conditions. These probabilities are described by a "wave function". When a particle isn't interacting with anything, it's wave function is open and it exists in a superposition. When it interacts with another system (people often use the word "observe", which falsely implies the need for a conscious observer) it's wave function collapses and the particle exists in a specific state.

(TBC)
User avatar #163 to #155 - allamericandude (05/14/2013) [-]
(continued)
That's just scratching the surface. There's a whole bunch of other stuff I could get into, but even I don't understand (that's not saying much, though. I'm not an expert on the stuff--learning about it is just a sort of hobby.) (And, frankly, if you think you understand quantum mechanics, that means you don't understand it properly.) This really is the frontier of modern science. Wave/particle dualities, multiverses, supersymmetry, String Theory, the mystery of quantum gravity, black holes and Big Bangs are just some of the things quantum mechanics gets into.

MinutePhysics is a great channel--the way that guy explains science is absolutely brilliant (and yes, I have gotten a lot of this from him). There's also SixtySymbols, which is also brilliant and gets into the juicy details without being too technical. Guys like Vsauce and 1veritasium are good, but they're directed more and a younger, broader audience.

I'd also recommend Sean Carroll's books "From Eternity to Here" and "The Particle at the End of the Universe", and Stephen Hawking's "A Brief (or Briefer) History of Time". Those are the ones I've read so far, at least.
#168 to #163 - errdayimfjing (05/14/2013) [-]
Wow thank you for writing all that out! I can understand it a little better now, but I guess the only thing that I can't seem to wrap my head around is how a particle can't have a specific outcome without having an observer. I guess I always just assumed that things would happen no matter what (observed or not), like the tree falling in the forest and no one around to hear it, but I guess that might have to do with more of conscious observing. Nonetheless, thanks for the explanation! Here's a crisper themoreyouknow.jpg to show my appreciation
User avatar #170 to #168 - allamericandude (05/14/2013) [-]
No problem. I like explaining stuff. It's like a workout for my brain. Plus it gives me a chance to show off

Yeah, that's an important thing to emphasize: Things happen without conscious observers. When scientists say "observe", they mean "one quantum system interacting with another"--which happens naturally everywhere all the time. People have often misunderstood the use of the word "observe" and used it to argue for new-wave spirituality and other such nonsense.
User avatar #171 to #170 - allamericandude (05/14/2013) [-]
Sorry, I forgot that those faces happen.
User avatar #128 to #123 - vycanismajoris (05/14/2013) [-]
Why did they do the experiment of the cat in a box with poison and other hazards if whet they're really interested is in the electrons? Sounds cruel to me.
And they didn't know if the cat was either dead or alive, they didn't need to invent a whole new probabilistic quantum-mechanical theory, they could just say "I don't know if the cat is dead or alive, let's look".
User avatar #133 to #128 - allamericandude (05/14/2013) [-]
It's a thought experiment. They didn't actually stick a cat in a box.
#134 to #133 - vycanismajoris (05/14/2013) [-]
Cool. I can live with that.
Cool. I can live with that.
User avatar #166 to #134 - coolcalx (05/14/2013) [-]
in fact, the thought experiment was designed specifically to show how absurd the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics is.

Schrodinger's cat would not both exist and not exist at the same time. the point of the thought experiment is "that would be retarded, so obviously this interpretation is wrong."
#64 to #5 - schrodngrscat (05/13/2013) [-]
Yup
#77 to #64 - schrodngrscat (05/14/2013) [-]
I'm just saying that is an accurate representation of my reaction to being put in a box...
User avatar #6 to #5 - diddymonster (05/13/2013) [-]
wasn't supposed to be this fast
User avatar #129 to #6 - skjalg (05/14/2013) [-]
makes it all the more hilarious, diddy
#10 to #6 - anonymous (05/13/2013) [-]
it's fine. good work.
User avatar #20 to #10 - cmurphyjrjrjr (05/13/2013) [-]
reassuring anon is reassuring
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