Tuesday, 6 October 2015

How to extend your (Schrödinger’s) cat’s life by 200 years

You have probably heard of the famous thought experiment of quantum mechanics called Schrödinger’s cat. Fundamentally, it is about the uncertainty of a state of a radioactive particle that ultimately makes the cat both alive and dead at the same time.

The experiment is depicted on the picture below. Into an insulated box, we place a cat together with a radioactive source that will with a certain probability release a radioactive particle. (Let’s assume that the probability of such thing happening during this period is 50%.) If an internal monitor detects radioactivity it will cause a hammer to shatter a vial with potassium cyanide that will kill the cat.

(Source http://www.crestoneeagle.com/november-2012-skies-over-crestone/)
The original outcome of this thought experiment from 1935 suggests that until we open the box and look inside, the cat will be in a conduction of both states – therefore it will be simultaneously alive and dead. (After many years of testing, we have come to a conclusion that the colour and fluffiness of the cat has no impact on the outcome of this experiment. However, we have observed that the crazy cat lady next door does notice when some of her many cats go missing.)

Based on this experiment, it is rather simple to arrange for your cat to live for another 200 years. Please follow these instructions: Place your beloved puss into a box. Then release radioactivity onto the internal sensor, but do this very quickly so the monitor will detect radioactivity only with a probability of, let’s say, 0.001%. The fully functional sensor would still release the hammer that would break the vial with potassium cyanide and kill your cat; however, the probability of this happening would be pretty much close to zero.

As a result, your cat will be with a tiny little probability dead and with nearly 100% certainty alive. All you have to do now is wait for 200 years, then open the box and have a cuddle with your 200-year-old alive cat! Purrrr!

Recommended by 99 out of 100 vets!  :-)

No cats were actually harmed during the writing of this blog post.