1 Corinthians 14:33a

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace… “

Erwin Schrödinger had a cat. Or perhaps he didn’t. At any rate, we don’t know whether it is alive or dead. Or still in the box. Confused?

Let me explain. Physicist Erwin Schrödinger devised a thought experiment in order to try to explain quantum theory. He imagined putting a cat in a box. There is a radioactive atom in the box which may, or may not, decay. If it does decay, it will release an alpha particle, which will hit a sensitive mechanism, able to release a hammer. The hammer will hit a vial of poisonous gas, killing the cat. The radioactive atom’s decay is a quantum event, so, whether the cat lives or dies, is also now a quantum event. If we have not opened the box, we do not know if the cat is alive or dead. In fact, before decay, a radioactive atom is assumed, by quantum theory, to exist in all possible states. Therefore, the cat is both alive and dead. Of course, once the box is opened, there is no doubt because we can see whether the cat is dead or alive.

The purpose of Schrödinger’s thought experiment was to criticize the whole concept of Quantum Theory. Surely, it was not possible for something to be and not to be at the same time. This simplistic version of Quantum Theory suggests a universe which is not understandable. No wonder that early scientists based their discoveries on the solid truth of God’s word.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You have given us the tools to understand this world. We expect order in the universe because You are a God of order, not chaos. Amen.

Ref: How to think about… Schrödinger’s cat, < https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23831840-700-how-to-think-about-schrodingers-cat/ >, accessed 6/30/2018.  Image: Dhatfield, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0.