Friday, May 20, 2011

Schrödinger's Cat

Quantum mechanics is, by all accounts, weird. I don't know much about it, other than various popular summaries. I do not know the math, which is really what quantum mechanics is. I just know the cute stories and "ideas" that the math points to. Something interesting to think about is what "reality" is made up of. Atoms? Protons and electrons? Quarks? Math is used to describe the relationships between these "things," although one philosophical and physical possibility is that there are no "things," but rather processes.

Schrödinger's Cat is a useful thought experiment because it points out the difference between looking at the world in a quantum mechanic/math way and looking at it in a common sense, "normal" way. According to quantum mechanics, particles are highly odd and can exist and not exist at the same time, or go in separate directions at the same time, depending on various things, such as whether they are being observed. (Note, quantum mechanics brings to the fore the issue of observance and how the act of someone observing something changes what is being observed. This of course raises issues related to the "thing in itself" and if we ever experience things as they are, or rather in a mediated way. This in turn raises issues of perception vs. reality, authenticity and identity).

Not be continued...or not to be continued...or both at the same time

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