Erwin Schrödinger may not be as famous as his cat, but he’s kind of a big deal to science geeks and anyone who’s tried to understand quantum mechanics. Today is Schrödinger’s 126th birthday — or maybe it simultaneously is and isn’t his 126th birthday — so Google commemorated the occasion with this lovely Doodle.
Schrödinger is best known for his thought experiment commonly referred to as “Schrödinger’s Cat,” wherein a cat is hypothetically placed in a box with poison. Also in the box is a sensor that monitors for any sign of radioactivity. If it senses any radiation it triggers the release of the poison, killing the cat.
It is meant to challenge the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics, which would imply that after some time in the box the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. This duality is ended when the box is opened and the cat is observed as either alive or dead, because in reality it can’t be both. Take that, Copenhagen Interpretation. You just got Schrödingered!
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