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Modern Myths

Modern Attempts to Explain Existence

What is the story of Schrödinger’s Cat?

Physicist Erwin Schrödinger (1887–1961) devised a thought experiment in which a live cat is placed in a box with a container of poison. The box also contains an atom of radioactive material that has a 50% chance of decaying in a set time. The decay will be recorded by a detector. The poison container will break and the cat will die if the radioactive material does not decay. So, it appears that there is a 50% chance that the cat will be dead after the previously set time for decay—or still alive. This seems to be logical, but Schrödinger tells us that according to the post-Newtonian world of quantum mechanics the cat is neither dead nor alive until we actually open the box and see what has happened. In other words, conscious observation is an integral part of any happening; conscious observation actually affects reality.



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