Schrödinger, born in Vienna in 1887, won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1933 for an equation of wave mechanics which was fundamental to modern quantum theory.
Today the ‘o’s of Google have been replaced with a cartoon image of a box containing both an alive and dead cat.
The Schrödinger’s Cat paradox was used to illustrate the practical problems surrounding the ‘Copenhagen interpretation’ of quantum mechanics, which suggests that a particle exists in all states at once until observed.
In the mind experiment, a cat is left in a box with a radioactive sample which may or may not decay and trigger the smashing of a bottle of poison. According to the Copenhagen interpretation, the cat is both alive and dead until the box is opened, but common sense would suggest this is not the case.
Schrödinger’s Cat has also been widely influential in popular culture, with references to it in TV shows such as Futurama, Doctor Who and The Big Bang Theory as well as appearing in the works of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett.
In recent years it has been the subject of a series of online jokes, such as the Wild West-style poster: “WANTED. Schrödinger’s cat: dead or alive. Last seen before box was closed.”
Or this take on the 2011 pop hit Call Me Maybe: “Hey I just met you/Your theory’s crazy/But here’s my cat/He’s dead maybe.”...
- India Violet Updated at: Wednesday, August 14, 2013