Happy Birthday Erwin Schrödinger

Today’s Google Doodle pays homage to Physicist Erwin Schrödinger and the mind-boggling implications of quantum mechanics. Elizabeth Barber summarizes the “Schrödinger’s Cat” paradox:

“What if you penned a cat in a steel chamber and then affixed to that chamber a small amount of radioactive substance? And what if, over the course of one hour, one of the atoms in that substance might – or, in equal probability, might not – decay? What if, in the 50/50 chance that the substance did decay, it deployed a hammer that shatters a flask of hydrocyanic acid that then poisons the cat?

So, after an hour, is the cat alive or dead?”

According to Schrödinger’s thought experiment, the cat is not alive or dead, but alive and dead. Read the piece and see if you can wrap your mind around that concept.

Happy Birthday, Herr Professor.