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Author Topic: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt  (Read 11572 times)

celticgeek

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Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« on: 28 Apr 2008, 22:17 »

I just have to mention this t-shirt I saw today.  I went in to buy a new computer and the techie (not the sales guy) was wearing a
t-shirt that said, on the front, "Schrodinger's cat is dead."  On the back it said, "Schrodinger's cat is not dead."

I complimented him on the shirt, and explained that I was a physicist.  He replied that he had gotten lots of comments on the shirt, but this was the first time he did not have to explain it. 

Truly a cool shirt. 
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Eris

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #1 on: 28 Apr 2008, 22:26 »

It's available on Thinkgeek.com
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celticgeek

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #2 on: 28 Apr 2008, 22:32 »

Sorry, I should have mentioned that.  I have already ordered mine.  I just had not seen it before. 
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Elizzybeth

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #3 on: 28 Apr 2008, 22:34 »

It's a good t-shirt!

But is Schrodinger's cat really not general knowledge?  I'm pretty sure I read about in a kids picture book about physics when I was nine or ten.  I mean, admittedly, I don't understand the complex quantum mechanics behind it... but I've got the basic cat-in-a-box-with-poison,-a-hammer,-and-a-Geiger-counter-rigged-with-a-potentially-radioactive-substance part down.  And Wikipedia's list of popular culture references to the theory suggests that maybe it's a little better understood than the techie's experiences would suggest?
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KickThatBathProf

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #4 on: 28 Apr 2008, 22:49 »

I'm pretty sure not many of us as children read physics picture books as kids.  At least in the U.S., Physics talk is generally saved up until high school.  I didn't know about Schrodinger until AP Physics senior year.

Also, most of those popular culture references are really just subtle nods toward the paradox (a few have merely cats named Schrodinger) and host of the TV shows aren't really well-watched, except for House, Numb3rs, and maybe Six Feet Under.
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ruyi

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #5 on: 28 Apr 2008, 22:53 »

I knew about it and I've never taken physics in my life. Probably never will either at this rate.
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celticgeek

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #6 on: 28 Apr 2008, 23:02 »

Schrodinger's cat is general, even common, knowledge, in some circles that I run in (several puns there, all intended).  However, even in the computer geek circles, it does not seem to be well known.  I even tried to make a joke using Schrodinger's cat when discussing the "bit bucket" and no one got it at all (and most did not get it  even after I tried to explain it further). 

So it seems to be less than general knowledge, at least less than I would have figured. 

The experimental process is proceeding, however, and there are some interesting results:

Schrodinger's Entangled Cat
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Blue Kitty

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #7 on: 28 Apr 2008, 23:32 »



I wish there was some sort of graphic on the shirt besides the lettering.  Maybe a cat, or would that be too morbid?
« Last Edit: 29 Apr 2008, 16:46 by Blue Kitty »
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Tom

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #8 on: 28 Apr 2008, 23:58 »

I've known since I was 9. By that age, I'd also heard of the third state.
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Slick

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #9 on: 29 Apr 2008, 00:40 »

On Griffiths Quantum Physics book, the front cover has a live cat, while the back has a dead one. A fellow I met a few times was once wearing a t-shirt with that same cat graphic on the front and back, with |up> and |down> on the front and back, respectively (imagine up is an up arrow and down is a down arrow).
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Fenriswolf

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #10 on: 29 Apr 2008, 00:56 »

Yeah, I'm kind of surprised it's not general knowledge too. Not that I understand it 100% but I get the idea behind it and can't say I'm sure when/where I learnt it actually... Always fun to get a reaction like that though  :lol:
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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #11 on: 29 Apr 2008, 12:16 »

I don't understand this like, at all.  The shirt sounds really awesome, though.
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Lines

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #12 on: 29 Apr 2008, 13:06 »

I know what Schrodinger's Cat is, but I don't really get everything behind it because, well, I suck at physics. But still, that is a pretty cool shirt!
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Patrick

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #13 on: 29 Apr 2008, 16:08 »

I knew about it and I've never taken physics in my life.

I knew about it and I dropped out of high school after failing freshman year twice.

Jeez you're such an underachiever.
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Ikrik

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #14 on: 29 Apr 2008, 19:48 »

I learned about it after taking Physics in summerschool....not because I failed...but because I wanted to.  And because I need it for university....underachieving enough?  It's not common knowledge....but it's not uncommon either.  All my sisters friends (University) know about the cat and a lot of my friends do too.  Anyway, I'd definitely get the red shirt posted earlier, I usually wear hoodies so having text on the back is kind of useless for me.
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Doug S. Machina

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #15 on: 30 Apr 2008, 03:13 »

I've no particular physics training but I know about Schrodiger's Cat.

I'm just inmagining the t-shirt comes in a box reading "Your order is in this box. Or is it?"
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Caspian

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #16 on: 30 Apr 2008, 04:59 »

Continuing the "I knew about Schrodinger's Cat" theme.

I knew about Schrodinger's Cat. I always thought his name was "Schroeder" but I may be thinking about the guy who developed 12 tone technique.
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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #17 on: 30 Apr 2008, 06:52 »

I don't know if Schoenberg had a cat...

Paul
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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #18 on: 30 Apr 2008, 10:02 »

I know about Schrodinger's cat.....maybe

I'm also disappointed that the spell check spells it wrongly, as disappointed as a man with no legs aspiring to be a football star.
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KickThatBathProf

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #19 on: 30 Apr 2008, 10:27 »

Well, it is supposed to have an umlaut
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Patrick

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #20 on: 30 Apr 2008, 10:44 »

Schrödinger.

/senses another alt-code discussion
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Scandanavian War Machine

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #21 on: 30 Apr 2008, 11:15 »

i learned about Schroedinger's Cat from the Dan Simmons book "Endymion" because my dad made me read those books when i was pretty little so i always thought it was sort of common knowledge too.

for those who don't know, in the far future you can be punished for a crime by being put into what they call a "Schroedinger's Cat Box" which is pretty much the exact thing he described in his thought experiment except for several key differences: it floats in space, it's big enough for a human, and it feeds you and recycles your air.

that's how i learned about Schroedinger and his cat.
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Slick

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #22 on: 30 Apr 2008, 11:44 »

Alt code? I just use the option+u then o.


So, there's a cat in a box with a glass vial of POISON GAS, a hammer, a geiger counter, and something that decays. This whole set-up may or may not kill the cat based on atomic decay.

Now, quantum theory is pretty fucked up if you are used to nice ol' intuitive classical mechanics. You see, reality is probabilistic and non-deterministic. Wee can not know everything and really there is nothing to know until something has been observed.
The cat thing was a way of saying "HEY GUYS THIS THEORY IS FULL OF SHIT", because quantum theory says that until the particle is observed, it is in a state that is the combination of the possibilities of it having decayed and not having decayed. So, if we stick a geiger counter on top of it, and drop the hammer on the vial in the event of decay, then the cat is in a mixed state of being dead and not dead until we open the box and 'observe' it.
Now, the problem with this is that it is kind of abusing thoughts from 'normal' life into working for quantum physics and then abusing them back. The problem basically illustrates that there is this pretty weird gap between the microscopic and macroscopic interpretations of science. Conveniently, though, we pretend this is OK because it makes us feel better.

The easiest way to say that the cat is, in fact, dead or alive and not a smear of both, is to say that the geiger counter observes the decay, so you can't tie a macroscopic process to a microscopic process without some observation.
That's a little bit hand-wavy, but the course I took was an applied math course on quantum theory, not a physics course on quantum physics, so I'm a little messy on the physical interpretation business. This is how I get to sleep at night. By waving my hands around and pretending my theoretical knowledge means I understand stuff.
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Patrick

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #23 on: 30 Apr 2008, 11:50 »

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #24 on: 30 Apr 2008, 17:39 »

What does that even mean?

"tl;dr" I mean.
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Elizzybeth

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #25 on: 30 Apr 2008, 17:42 »

"too long; didn't read"

It's how to be an internet asshole if you're paying for internet by number of bits transferred (for comparison, "fuck you" is seven characters).
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jhocking

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #26 on: 30 Apr 2008, 18:21 »

Anyone have the tl;dr image macro of Bush and the Constitution? That is my favorite but I lost it.

ADDITION: nevermind I found it

Fenriswolf

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #27 on: 30 Apr 2008, 19:19 »

i learned about Schroedinger's Cat from the Dan Simmons book "Endymion" because my dad made me read those books when i was pretty little so i always thought it was sort of common knowledge too.

for those who don't know, in the far future you can be punished for a crime by being put into what they call a "Schroedinger's Cat Box" which is pretty much the exact thing he described in his thought experiment except for several key differences: it floats in space, it's big enough for a human, and it feeds you and recycles your air.

that's how i learned about Schroedinger and his cat.
Oo, I likes the sound of that book!

Also, your description is quite fantastic Slick. Made me laugh a lot at work.
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Scandanavian War Machine

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #28 on: 01 May 2008, 16:50 »

i highly recommend it. it's actually the third book in a series of four fantastic books.

(books=Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, and The Rise of Endymion.)
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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #29 on: 01 May 2008, 19:35 »

Incidently, someone scribbled "Ponce de Leon is dead" on the backs of a couple chairs in my history class, while the other chairs read "Ponce de Leon is not dead."
 

I like to pretend that it is a Clone High reference.
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Ozymandias

Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #30 on: 01 May 2008, 21:59 »

Oh, Ponce.

You are a regular character.
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David_Dovey

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #31 on: 02 May 2008, 02:17 »

I saw Charlie Sheen wearing a shirt that said "Pavlov's Dogs" written on it, in baseball team style.

Take that as you will?
« Last Edit: 02 May 2008, 02:22 by David_Dovey »
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McTaggart

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #32 on: 02 May 2008, 11:51 »

Incidently, someone scribbled "Ponce de Leon is dead" on the backs of a couple chairs in my history class, while the other chairs read "Ponce de Leon is not dead."
 

I like to pretend that it is a Clone High reference.

We just have the odd 'n' scrawled inside the CUT of 'Curtin Institute of Technology'.
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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #33 on: 03 May 2008, 11:26 »

I think I can safely say I'm the only one here who first learned about Schrödinger's Cat from a book written by Tim Allen.

Yes, that Tim Allen.
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Jooooosh

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #34 on: 03 May 2008, 12:42 »

I think you could safely say you're the only one here whos read a book by Tim Allen
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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #35 on: 03 May 2008, 12:54 »

It's not my fault. I was like 15 and Home Improvement was at the height of its popularity!

Besides, who would ever expect Tim Allen to write a book on quantum mechanics?  :?
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KickThatBathProf

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #36 on: 03 May 2008, 16:26 »

How did that show ever get popular?  I am so confused
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jodizzle

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Re: Schrodinger's Cat T-Shirt
« Reply #37 on: 03 May 2008, 18:17 »

Man, the boy saw this thread and was all WUT!

Then we went to Think Geek and spent $160 (he did actually buy the shirt!).
THANKS GUYS.
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