This comic is based off the famous thought experiment conducted by Erwin Shrodinger often referred to as Schrodinger’s Cat. I chose this comic because, other than the humor, it requires some familiarity with concepts in quantum mechanics. With the advancement in our technological capabilities, a knowledge of quantum mechanics is becoming increasingly mandatory to experts outside of pure physics.
Schrodinger’s Cat was a thought experiment demonstrated to highlight some of the conceptual troubles that physicists were grappling with during the birth of quantum mechanics. The thought experiment goes as follows: place a cat in a box with a flask of poison and a radioactive source along with a detector. Now let us suppose the radioactive source consists of particles that are in a quantum superposition of two states. Let the detector be setup in a way such that if it detects the source to be in state 1 then the flask of poison remains sealed, but if the detector measures the source to be in state 2 then the flask will be open, thus resulting in the death of the cat. This issue with this scenario is that quantum mechanics tells us that the source exists in both states up until the moment a measurement is made. This means that, prior to the detector making a measurement, the cat can be thought of as both dead and alive. Obviously a cat cannot be both dead and alive; however, this paradox can be reconciled by accounting for a more detailed description of the detector in the box.
While quantum mechanics retains this type of mystery to the general public, it is becoming increasingly necessary for our technological progression. For example, the miniaturization of our electronics is quickly transitioning to becoming governed by quantum mechanical principles. It will not be much longer before quantum mechanics becomes a mandatory class for every scientist and engineer.