Alive and dead and in two places at once: the mystery of Schrodinger’s cat

We all know the story of Schrodinger’s cat – the unlucky beast that spends its days both living and dead in a box until someone lets it out. Well, now it can get out, sort of. Scientists have shown that the cat can be alive and dead, and can also be in two boxes at once.

Originally, the cat was the protagonist in a story used to explain the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. He (or she) is sealed in a box along with a radioactive particle, which could decay at any time, and a vial of poison gas, which will break if the particle does decay. Schrodinger argues that until we open the box and find out if the cat is alive or dead, it is both, in what theoretical physicists like to call a “superposition of states”. In short…

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