Observing Science Caturday at Berkeley

Yesterday, our friends at the Berkeley Science Review published “Behind the Science: Infinite Russian Cats: Part 3 of Several” by Daniel Freeman, which appears, at first, to be nothing more than an infinite series of subtitles. It turns out, however, to be an insightful post that explains the central challenges that the Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment addressed, illustrated with a Science Caturday joke that may already be in Brian Malow‘s set. It also does an excellent job of explaining the fundamental weirdness of quantum mechanics:

What’s interesting, though, is that Quantum Mechanics is correct, and matter absolutely can be interpreted as existing in simultaneous states, up until being “looked” at—this formalism allows us to calculate all kinds of absurdly precise quantities about atoms and molecules.  Reconciling whywe don’t ever see alive-dead cats (that is, macroscopic objects made of trillions of atoms simultaneously in more than one state) with the notion that reality does really follow these rules (that is, microscopic objects being describable as existing in simultaneous states) is actually incredibly nontrivial.

I know what y’all are thinking. No, that other thing you are thinking; and put Mr. Gordon-Levitt‘s clothes back on, thank you very much. This post went up on a Friday and that is not Science Caturday. The more multicultural among you, however, might realize that not all cultures define days in the same way. In some societies, Saturday is already well under way when the rest of us still think it is Friday. Drinking excessive alcohol can simulate this multicultural experience.

So, Friday has the potential to be both Friday and Saturday; but if you are following this link like I told you to, then your observation has indeed collapsed the wavefunction of Daniel’s post on Science Caturday.

Author: Josh Witten


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