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IDTIMWYTIM: Schrodinger's Cat

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"I Don't Think It Means What You Think It Means" examines scientific theories that have taken on a life of their own in popular culture & we help you understand what they really mean in scientific terms. Today we take on Schrodinger's Cat, the famous thought experiment by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger. Like SciShow on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/scishow Follow SciShow on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/scishow References for this episode can be found in the Google document here: http://dft.ba/-2DJZ
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Text Comments (4242)
Vijay Bhaskar (1 day ago)
But before you open the box, isn't it already decided that what happened to the cat? I would say it is already decided at least from the point of view of the person who is going to open the box. The person "knows" that the fate of the cat has been decided, just that he will only get to know it when he opens the box. This is so because quantum superposition collapses once "any" kind of "observation" has happened - the observation need not be by a human or even a living being. However, there are cases where we simply don't know either ways because the particle has not yet 'interacted' in a way which reveals its state - this is the essence of quantum superposition. Moreover, can a multi-verse theory even be tested? As long as it cannot be tested, it is metaphysics, not physics.
Fun101 Emma (6 days ago)
If “curiosity killed the cat” that’s because you looked and now you know the cat is dead or alive and if it’s dead, your curiosity killed the cat
Nick Cameron (15 days ago)
and what if the cat gets tired of this experiment and walks through the walls of the box?
Glenn Laroche (18 days ago)
Our feline overlords are not amused.....
Andrew Blackamore (1 month ago)
Learn English the word is EITHER not BOTH, once you use correct English the only statement is .... After the hour the car is either dead or alive.
L6915 (2 months ago)
There is no superposition state. If there was, everything would change whilst unobserved.
won kim (2 months ago)
What's the standard model of physics?
hokiepokie (2 months ago)
But is the cat circumcised?
Magic Eight Ball (2 months ago)
Im from 2021. we found a way of time travelling. I have to go back to the lab RN or else the wormhole will collapse. seeya. Spoiler: The US wins the war easily
TheMegadethMonk (3 months ago)
Don't quantum computers kinda 'prove' the cat IS both alive and dead?
Jon dow (4 months ago)
Apples (5 months ago)
While I'm aware that Schrodinger didn't intend for it to be interpreted this way, I find this analogy is also interesting from a philosophical standpoint, illustrating the uncertainty of existing in the universe. Because like the cat, we are mortal creatures who will inevitably die, eventually, but unlike the cat, we have some limited control of our surrounding as well as other lifeforms. But even still, our control over and understanding the universe as a whole is ultimately very, very small indeed. And some things are ultimately up to chance.
Joshua Chhakchhuak (5 months ago)
Thank god I didn't misunderstand it. r/IAmVerySmart
Jillianne Fanning (5 months ago)
0:32 ... while I’m playing with my Newton’s cradle... 😏
dannypeck666 (6 months ago)
of course, when you look at the cat, if you see an alive one, theres a split universe where the cat is dead and vice versa, right?
Walnut Gamer (6 months ago)
Either that starts with an i, or you got the acronym wrong.
Rui M (6 months ago)
Very good explanation
Josef Baldacchino (6 months ago)
Can this theory be applied somehow in day-to-day stuff or is it specific to physics?
Jesus Christ Is Lord (6 months ago)
Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior loves you!♥️
ObnoxiousAgnostic (6 months ago)
Final comment
Alpha Omega (6 months ago)
But isnt it being observed by the geiger counter?How can we know the dual slit results if we do not observe it in some way.By even creating the experiment we have changed the outcome.
MrFreeman012 (6 months ago)
Ya know, quantum mechanics sounds eerily... Paranoooormal... If it was called paranormal this would've been laughed out of science.
Thomas Saarniit (7 months ago)
Even a human can be in a superposition, you don't know if a guy is dumb or smart until he opens his mouth. :) ;)
Hunter Smith (7 months ago)
I'm a 12 yr old teaching myself about quasi stars, quark stars, neutron stars, black holes, everything atoms and everything microbiolgy, but yet I always come back to good old schrodinger.. I'm actually wearing a "wanted, dead AND alive schrodinger cat shirt lol good old days when I learned about schrodinger
Sean Not-telling (7 months ago)
The particle died and the counter tripped the hammer but the cat seeing the hammer fall thought it was a toy and jumped over to grab the hammer and play with it and therefore knocked the bottle of poison out of the way and saved it own life. How is that for a twist.
Ken Kaneki (7 months ago)
Simply said, its just about possibility. You can be at a state of having and not having a girlfriend at the same time, until you observe/notice
abcdefg hijklmno (7 months ago)
This is good.
Tim Berghoff (7 months ago)
Cats are a poor choice for this experiment. It would knock over and break the container of poison and die no matter what. ;)
Calvin Moses (8 months ago)
If I walked into a cave alone, and accidentally fell down a really deep hole and died, I wouldn't be both dead and alive at the same time until someone saw me dead on the ground.
Hawkesbury Hogan (8 months ago)
How come you get mind blanks?
Kyle Lee (8 months ago)
Dead cat
Mathew Hunt (8 months ago)
technically, until you observe the cat, it IS both dead and alive, because you can't observe it being dead or alive until the end- when you know when it is dead or alive. Technically, all of reality is in a state of superposition because you wouldn't know it until, so it will be all possible outcomes.
Stefan Veenstra (8 months ago)
The light in the refrigerator is a family friendly interpretation of Schrodinger's Cat. Also remember Schrodinger never had a cat or if he had one it couldn't be observed.
Sierra White (8 months ago)
Why not just place a camera in the box, so you can observe super-position?
Calvin Moses (8 months ago)
Sierra White (8 months ago)
Calvin M. I understand what your getting at, but it's not that the super-position would break, it would never exist because it was being observed the entire time the box was closed.
Calvin Moses (8 months ago)
if the theory was true, and you placed a camera in the box, you would be observing it, and the superposition would break right when the cat were to die/not die, instead of when you opened the box. However, the theory couldn't work because a camera is really just an object, and would act the same as any other object inside the box would.
Sierra White (8 months ago)
Calvin M. Oh, this under the hypothetical that super-position is, well, a thing that we know happens, just not how it works.
Calvin Moses (8 months ago)
this wouldn't work because the schrodinger' cat theory wouldn't really work, and there isn't actually any superposition happening.
Mister Schizophrenic (8 months ago)
Anyone who doesn't see that this is only a theory because we don't know if the cat is alive or dead because we have not opened the box there is literally nothing special about this.
Visda58 (8 months ago)
The cat observes the situation in the box. Checkmate, science.
Rax G (8 months ago)
Why do quantum mechanics sound like something a stoner came up with while sitting on the toilet?
Nocturnal RS (8 months ago)
Is this experiment psychological or science? How is this profound and what science is there to back up any of this... What proof is there that the physical universe can't exist and function without the observer?
Apurba Lohar (9 months ago)
you are concerned about radiation wont the cat die of deadly gas ?
Maddie Marie (9 months ago)
Would it be different if you saw things from the cats perspective?
Tienne Francois (9 months ago)
What about observing a superposition makes it impossible. I don’t understand how that is supposed to work
A Tr (9 months ago)
An I the only one who's really annoyed that the acronym for "I don't think that means what you think it means" has an I where a T should be? Edit: just realized that it stands for "I don't think that it means what you think it means" even if Hank says something else
cody collins (9 months ago)
But since the cat is also made of atoms wouldn't there atoms effect that
teddavidson (9 months ago)
I do not think Schrödinger is pronounced the way you think it is pronounced.
JakeHerstad (9 months ago)
Did the cat die
Maddie Marie (9 months ago)
JakeHerstad yes and no
Simonas Dailidė (9 months ago)
kiwifruitkl (9 months ago)
I always get a creepy feeling when I hear about things like this.
Upside down (9 months ago)
This is just stupid. Just because you didn’t look in the box doesn’t mean you didn’t murder a cat. I’m going try this when I get a bill. I’m just not going to fuckin look at it.
Maddie Marie (9 months ago)
Upside down there could be a chance that your electric company refunded you for your entire last year, you wouldn’t know until you checked.
olli c (10 months ago)
But why is he saying that the cat is both alive and dead shouldn’t he say the cat is either alive or dead?? ( I don’t know if they mean the same thing or not)
Dimitris M Papadakis (10 months ago)
Shroediger's cat is a plagiarised ancient Greek myth, where Apollo was asked if the bird in one's hand is dead or alive, to which he responded, "it is both or either right now, and up to your perception of my answer to determine its reality". At least the Austrian should have had the dignity of citing his sources of inspiration, just like Newton, who "stood on the shoulders of giants".
Karam Hasan (10 months ago)
شوي شوي يابن الحرام
CJLabay1 (10 months ago)
Another idea is the phrase “nip it in the bud.” Most often said as “nip it in the butt”
Wild Bore (10 months ago)
But how does quantum mechanics determine what's being observed? How is the human's observation more valid than the cat's observation? How do we know that it was in a state of superposition if we can't observe it to see if it is without it collapsing? How do we know this isn't just probability and at some point the cat died like normal? Why haven't we tried this in real life with a rat so that PETA doesn't throw a fit?
Vincent Sweedman (10 months ago)
Watching this video lead me to googling "superposition", which in turn shows me a picture of some ducks which triggers me to remember my dream in which I had several mallard ducks in my bed that I was trying to protect. Why was I dreaming about ducks?
Commander Corsair (10 months ago)
Just like "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?"
Sarah Perrigo (10 months ago)
animal testing is wronge
Sarah Perrigo (10 months ago)
god kill me now please ...
canopeaz (11 months ago)
According to George Clinton, to cause the radioactive atoms to decay and kill the cat you need an atomic dog, not this superposition nonsense
Gabriel Tomei (11 months ago)
is anyone else here because they read “dark matter”?
PapiTheSailor (11 months ago)
Can someone explain this to me? It’s confusing
THE fake DEADPOOL (11 months ago)
Who came from Rick and morty?? Just me? Sad.. :(
Haniah Hamza (11 months ago)
Wait did Erwin Schrödinger even have a cat?
Star Child (11 months ago)
i'm on this side of youtube again.
The Primal Earth (11 months ago)
"excellent plot device for science fiction novels" right.... science fiction *novels* *checks video date oh... rick and morty didn't air yet
Uliana Buslovska (11 months ago)
Danny Rivera (11 months ago)
An unfathomable amount of things are happening at once in the universe and we are not aware or observing. Are those things in a superposition? Seems like a simulation theory.
Wowtiy (1 year ago)
Anyone come here from Rick and Morty?
Jeednya Sade (1 year ago)
It's just the same feeling you get before results of a exams. Your results are in superposition.
Chernobyl (1 year ago)
You know what they say The act of putting a Geiger counter, a deadly gas vial, and a hammer in use killed the cat.
Thecrazeeespaceman (1 year ago)
Cat lives matter!!! Not a racist just the first thing I thought of. Seriously equality is awesome.
Robin Chesterfield (1 year ago)
I've always liked the Discworld answer to this--that the cat can, in fact, be in _three_ states: alive, dead, and BLOODY FURIOUS! Actually that last one is probably the most likely. :P ("Are you okay, kitty OW MY FACE!")
Jayden Jones (1 year ago)
Instructions not clear, my cat has fused with my dog.
AnimalArcher (1 year ago)
TBH the beginning of the title looks like Schrodinger's cat sat on his keyboard.
edgewaterz (1 year ago)
The result is only concomitant with observation? Wouldn't that mean our experiments we're capable of performing at this point in time are pretty useless and don't really tell us anything about quantum states at all? Maybe quantum states are more like multiple dimensions than A/B outcomes.
G (1 year ago)
"Cat that follows Newtonian laws" Boy-o cats don't follow any laws, mine can teleport.
Sphere (1 year ago)
I like to thank Rick and Morty for this weird expariment.
Eletria Biswas (1 year ago)
why cant the state of superpositions be observed?
Mr. J_Krr_ (1 year ago)
Schhrodinger boi, ya really hated cats din ya?
Arya Skulblaka (1 year ago)
don't forget the cellphone paradox; when you drop it, it's both cracked and not cracked, until you look down
Jessica Stimpson (1 year ago)
Actually, you have one TIIIIIINY detail wrong. Schrodinger came up with this to show HOW ABSURDLY BIZARRE the idea of superposition was.
Kryptnyt (1 year ago)
When the universe with the dead cat and the universe with the living cat rejoin, is that a Dragon Break?
V (1 year ago)
For the first time, I didn't understand anything that Hank said... what,,, a cat? dead? i just
Andre Hamilton (1 year ago)
Please address nihilism and existentialism and show how they are not synonyms! Please!
Alejandro Gasamanes (1 year ago)
as crazy as this might sounds would this mean metaphorically speaking that we could be right now alive and dead?
Singednergy Bot Lane (1 year ago)
He just makes things complicated. What the Fuck man? Why don't you just open the fucking box to know the answer??? Fuck Shrodinger and fuck his works about that shitty garbage people call "Quantum Mechanics" that people believes in
Wikk Warren (1 year ago)
As the years go by our cameras get better and better and yet youtubers get closer and closer.
DUKE the SPOOK (1 year ago)
A cat doesn't make a major difference to the universe no mater the outcome. Try using Donald Trump...
DUKE the SPOOK (1 year ago)
Don't use a human in this experiment because they will just use the hammer to get out of the box (trust me, i know...)
Gamer Raichu (1 year ago)
Hey thank you for explaining this! I was really struggling with understanding this experiment. It sounds suuper cool to a pleb like myself.
Jes Us (1 year ago)
How is this complicated? The Radio Active in the box will slowly kill the cat, then the poison will accelerate the process, I don't get it, the Cat will die anyway, because it's mortal, radio active "on" will affect the cat, radio active off will not affect, this superposition will affect the cat slowly even if the poison is not triggered, which it will. Example, touching a fire, then pulling out, touching, pulling out, your hand will eventually suffer from the added outcome damage. This is why I hate philosophy, y'all wanna talk for no reason.
Hannah Scott (1 year ago)
I always used this for broken phones. If I dropped it face down, until I pick it up, it's both cracked and not cracked at the same time. Whoops. . .
GDI (1 year ago)
"According to Schrödinger, the Copenhagen interpretation implies that the cat remains both alive and dead until the state is observed. Schrödinger did not wish to promote the idea of dead-and-alive cats as a serious possibility; on the contrary, he intended the example to illustrate the absurdity of the existing view of quantum mechanics" *From Schrödinger, Erwin (November 1935). "Die gegenwärtige Situation in der Quantenmechanik (The present situation in quantum mechanics)". Naturwissenschaften. 23 (48): 807–812.*
Yosef Robinson (1 year ago)
The many worlds interpretation meshes quite nicely with alternate, "what if" history and provides real-life settings for alternate scenarios to take place - just not in this particular universe!
2OrSomething AJ (1 year ago)
Guess curiosity killed the cat after all
Hamsambwich (1 year ago)
I think all that stuff about the "can't be observed" stuff is bs. Living organisms aren't some special entity where the atoms act weird when we aren't looking and then bam, just like that, your dead cat is still in the microwave. I think matter is normal and stays the same unless acted upon. However, living beings could also be wrong, and everything we see is an illusion, and that the cat is always not in the microwave.
rhiannon sampson (1 year ago)
did anyone c tat episode were penny from big bang theory goes out with lenard and sheldons just like schodingers cat
prsoad helsinger (1 year ago)
Could you recommend any novels specific to this
Jmz Haz (1 year ago)
Yes, but word puzzles have convinced me that M = "am". Ergo, IDTIMWYTIM = I don't think I am what you think I am.
i found out about you in class in one of your video's about chromosomes. I really enjoy science now because I watch your videos to get me pumped for the class and ever since my grade went up! I wanted too thank you.

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