Lesson #239: Quantum Cats

Sometimes, I learn things that I have no idea what they actually mean (The Noether Theorem for example*). Usually this involves me having a conversation with one of my physicist friends and them talking about a project they’re working on. Today, it involves me reading a science article.

I’ll be honest, this concept is outside the realm of my understanding; photons aren’t in my repertoire. But given my love of Schrodinger’s thought experiment and my fascination with theoretical physics, I’m not going to let this go without a lesson.

Basically, scientists have managed to manipulate photons so that they exist in a “cat state” i.e., they exist in two states at one time, like Schrodinger’s cat. Scientists feel these quantum cats may make quantum measurements more accurate and assist in quantum computing and  communications.**

Whatever it actually means, it’s cool. They took something that was a theory for a long time and made it real. Science for the win!

A bonus science joke for today, since we’re (indirectly) talking about the Uncertainty Principle: Heisenberg is out for a drive and get stopped for speeding. The cop asks, “do you know how fast you were going?” Heisenberg answers, “No, but I know where I am!” 

*Seriously, I have no freaking clue what the Noether Theorem is about. All I know is that my very favourite Russian is working with it and that he describes it as one of the most complex theories in the field of theoretical physics. This makes me feel better because a. he’s a genius and b. I’m a physics moron. As a result (c.), it gives me some sense of security that I’m not a total imbecile.

**That article is here.


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