Here’s how I’d have answered a particular kind of true/false test about Schroedinger’s Cat.
The cat is alive. False
The cat is dead. False
The cat is not alive. True
The cat is not dead. True.
My reasoning is that being in a superposition of states is different from being in either of the states themselves, and since the cat is in a superposition of the alive and dead states, the status of the cat is that it is not alive, and is not dead. Since it’s not alive or dead, 1 and 2 are false. Since it’s not alive, 3 is true. Since it’s not dead, 4 is true.
This question is prompted by the fact that on the radio today I heard an interview with a physicist in which the physicist said that the cat is both alive and not alive. In other words, this physicist, apparently, would answer questions one and three above both with “true.” (I don’t know what he would say about 2 and 4.)
I thought I knew the right thing to say about superpositions, but was I wrong?
(Note: Actually what the physicist said was that if a person is in a room, and is not “strongly coupled with his environment,” then if the person isn’t being observed, the person is both there and not there at the same time. I translated this into Schroedinger’s Cat talk for familiarity’s sake.)
Am a physicists, but I don’t think its a factual question so much as a matter of opinion on how to interpret “superposition of states”. Personally I’d say any state thats part of the superposition is “true”, and any state that isn’t in it (or has a coefficent of zero) is “false”, just out of desire to make the concepts of true/false useful in the context of quantum states.
But again, I don’t think there’s an “official” answer that most scientists would agree with.
Basic gist of the story - researchers built a small (but macro sized) resonator that when supercooled, showed quantum mechanical behavior as opposed to just the plain ol’ Newtonian physics you expect a macro object to exhibit.
Oh shit, I am alone here in my room and no-one is watching me! I guess the fact that I am posting this establishes the fact that I am here, but if I stop posting, is there a 50% probability that I might wink out of existence? Or is it that I would teleport to somewhere else? (Would my clothes teleport along with me?) :eek:
Or are some physicists not so smart as they think?
So they could see that the thing they made was sometimes there and sometimes not there? Or was sort of half-there? :dubious:
Sorry if this is not a very well thought out post, but, for the reasons explained in the previous post, I need to keep posting, and I can’t really afford to stop to think about things, or I could be in serious danger.
as for the OP, the superposition of 2 states really is saying you can’t know without observing, and there’s no way to observe without changing the situation. the endgame is a neatly convenient and thus-far true conclusion that you just simply cannot know.
What the physics says is that these things really are in a state of superposition. It’s not just that we can’t know which state they’re actually in–we know exactly what state they’re in, and that state is the state of superposition.
Just went looking for cites and can’t find anything relevant in the brief time available to me, so sorry about that.
For the OP, I’d say all four questions are most properly answered False. ETA: To give an analogy, suppose I’m going to flip a coin, but haven’t yet, and in your four questions, substitute coin for cat, heads for alive, and tails for dead.