Improved Schrodinger's Cat Experiment

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Mike Fontenot

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Apr 26, 2016, 1:00:02 PM4/26/16
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Schrodinger clearly believed that human consciousness was required to
collapse the wave function into either the "live cat" state or "dead
cat" state. Penrose doesn't (see "Shadows of the Mind"). He suspects
that as the "measuring device" is made more complicated than a
"quantum-sized" object, at some degree of complexity, it would cause an
actual physical collapse of the wave function of the combined
"radioactive atom plus measuring device system". I suspect Penrose, not
Schrodinger, is correct.

It seems to me that this issue COULD have been easily resolved by
experiment in Schrodinger's time. First, allow for the radioactive atom
to be removed from the box after the one-hour time interval that should
produce a 50/50 chance of a decay. In addition, instead of putting a
cat in the box (which might have sufficient consciousness to itself
cause the collapse), just include a classical-sized "measurement device"
that would, upon a decay, turn off refrigeration of a bottle of milk in
the box. After the one-hour interval, the experimenter removes and
discards the radioactive atom from the box (without examining it to
determine if it has decayed), and the leaves the box undisturbed for a
week or so (without determining in any way whether the refrigeration had
been turned off or not). After a week or so, the experimenter opens the
box. If the milk is observed to be spoiled, then clearly the collapse
happened days ago, not just now by the conscious observation.

-- Mike Fontenot

Hans Van Leunen

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Apr 27, 2016, 1:50:02 PM4/27/16
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The squared modulus of the wave function can be interpreted as the (continuous) description of a location density distribution that describes a coherent swarm of locations that represent the landing locations in a hopping path of a point-like object. If the object stops hopping or decides to do something else, then the location density distribution looses its sense and collapses. This is what probably happens to the owner of the wave function.

Op dinsdag 26 april 2016 19:00:02 UTC+2 schreef Mike_Fontenot:

Mike Fontenot

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Apr 27, 2016, 1:50:06 PM4/27/16
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On 4/26/16 11:56 AM, Mike Fontenot wrote:
>
> It seems to me that this issue COULD have been easily resolved by
> experiment in Schrodinger's time.
> [...]
> After a week or so, the experimenter opens the
> box. If the milk is observed to be spoiled, then clearly the collapse
> happened days ago, not just now by the conscious observation.
>

I've just realized that my modified experiment DOESN'T allow the
observer to determine the time of collapse. Regardless of whether the
collapse occurs immediately after the decay, or a week later when the
observer opens the box, the process of milk spoilage begins (if it ever
happens at all) when the atom decays and causes the refrigeration to be
turned off. When the undecayed atom is placed in the box, the state of
the atom is "undecayed". But immediately the state becomes a
superposition of "decayed" and "undecayed", with the complex weighing
factor for the "decayed" component starting out small, but growing as
time passes. And for the "decayed" component, the spoiling process
begins its progression immediately. Whenever the collapse occurs, if
the resulting state is "decayed", the progression of the spoilage of the
milk will smoothly continue on, uninterrupted by the collapse. If the
state after the collapse is "undecayed", the decayed component of the
superposition ceases to exist at the collapse, and the spoilage of milk
in that component ceases to progress because it no longer exists.

-- Mike Fontenot

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