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Tags quantum physics , Schrodinger's Cat

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Old 3rd June 2019, 05:09 PM   #1
Steve001
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Saving Schrödinger's Kitty 🐈

Physicists can predict the jumps of Schrodinger's cat (and finally save it)

Yale researchers have figured out how to catch and save Schrödinger's famous cat, the symbol of quantum superposition and unpredictability, by anticipating its jumps and acting in real time to save it from proverbial doom. In the process, they overturn years of cornerstone dogma in quantum physics
https://m.phys.org/news/2019-06-phys...inger-cat.html
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Old 3rd June 2019, 05:22 PM   #2
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So are they building the contraption and finding a kitty? Money where their mouth is?
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Old 3rd June 2019, 07:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Steve001 View Post
Physicists can predict the jumps of Schrodinger's cat (and finally save it)

Yale researchers have figured out how to catch and save Schrödinger's famous cat, the symbol of quantum superposition and unpredictability, by anticipating its jumps and acting in real time to save it from proverbial doom. In the process, they overturn years of cornerstone dogma in quantum physics
https://m.phys.org/news/2019-06-phys...inger-cat.html

The problem with this is that it will only work nine times with the same cat. If they try it a 10th time, Schrödinger's Kitty Cat is TOAST!!
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Old 3rd June 2019, 07:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
The problem with this is that it will only work nine times with the same cat. If they try it a 10th time, Schrödinger's Kitty Cat is TOAST!!
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Old 3rd June 2019, 09:14 PM   #5
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I am proud to say that I have read extensively on quantum mechanics and this experiment. I did not understand a word.
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Old 4th June 2019, 04:58 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
I am proud to say that I have read extensively on quantum mechanics and this experiment. I did not understand a word.
Could you elaborate? There's a short thread so far
here https://www.physicsforums.com/thread...ctable.972961/ but is far over my head.

Last edited by Steve001; 4th June 2019 at 05:29 AM.
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Old 4th June 2019, 05:31 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
I am proud to say that I have read extensively on quantum mechanics and this experiment. I did not understand a word.
I got the same level of understanding by not clicking on the link.
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Old 4th June 2019, 09:10 AM   #8
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Interesting, to use a car analogy it would be like seeing someone's reverse lights come on before they back up. With that forewarning you can take action (honk your horn) to decrease the probability of that driver ever entering a 'backing up' state. As noted in the linked thread the decoherence of states in superposition lasts a finite time, while the start of that decoherence (when the car's backup lights come on) is still random (as far as anyone knows).
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Old 4th June 2019, 09:38 AM   #9
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My understanding is that the Cat is a thought experiment intended to demonstrate the absurdity of applying macroscopic intuition to quantum-mechanical processes.

Therefore, I reject with prejudice any un-reviewed research that claims to "overturn" any aspect of QM in terms of the Cat.
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Old 4th June 2019, 09:54 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
My understanding is that the Cat is a thought experiment intended to demonstrate the absurdity of applying macroscopic intuition to quantum-mechanical processes.
Exactly, as the superposition of states could not be maintained. As well one might notice from the stank of the box and the kitty skeleton inside when opened, half the time.*


Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Therefore, I reject with prejudice any un-reviewed research that claims to "overturn" any aspect of QM in terms of the Cat.
Most claims of pop science articles don't reflect the claims of researchers.



*No kitties were harmed in the making of that joke
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Old 4th June 2019, 10:50 AM   #11
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Unless it's explained by Colonel Carter in a Stargate episode it just doesn't make sense. How do these findings affect the chances of evil aliens attacking Colorado Springs? For the record I'm fine with evil aliens attacking Colorado Springs so long as they don't do it via a clip show.
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Old 4th June 2019, 11:53 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Steve001 View Post
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
I am proud to say that I have read extensively on quantum mechanics and this experiment. I did not understand a word.
Could you elaborate?

Certainly: I used my eyeballs to interpret a series of squiggles as representations of words. I then synthesized these words into sentences in my brain - basically imagining a series of nouns and actions. I then failed to comprehend almost all of the nouns and any of the actions. I completed the task by failing to comprehend how any of the nouns or actions might be in any way meaningful to anybody for any purpose.
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Old 4th June 2019, 12:22 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Certainly: I used my eyeballs to interpret a series of squiggles as representations of words. I then synthesized these words into sentences in my brain - basically imagining a series of nouns and actions. I then failed to comprehend almost all of the nouns and any of the actions. I completed the task by failing to comprehend how any of the nouns or actions might be in any way meaningful to anybody for any purpose.
I did rather better: I understood the meaning of each word! I just don't understand what's being meant by combining all those words in the order chosen. I've tried re-arranging them but that made it even worse.
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Old 4th June 2019, 12:29 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Certainly: I used my eyeballs to interpret a series of squiggles as representations of words. I then synthesized these words into sentences in my brain - basically imagining a series of nouns and actions. I then failed to comprehend almost all of the nouns and any of the actions. I completed the task by failing to comprehend how any of the nouns or actions might be in any way meaningful to anybody for any purpose.
I read it as well and, while I certainly can't claim even a fraction of your expertise on the subject, I did have two questions:

1. What did that article have to do with the cat in question?
2. What the heck is the "imminent disaster" the article claims can be avoided? The dead imaginary cat?
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Old 4th June 2019, 12:58 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Elvis666 View Post
I read it as well and, while I certainly can't claim even a fraction of your expertise on the subject, I did have two questions:

1. What did that article have to do with the cat in question?
By detecting the decoherence as it starts you can, theoretically and purportedly experimentally by the tests cited, alter the system configuration so the decay (trigger) state is less probable. Thus there is less of an imaginary probability for the imaginary dead cat state.

The actual application would be in maintaining a superposition of states in say a Q-bit even with purtibating fields or potential interaction. In other words you could theoretically nip decoherence in the bud until the Q-bit was ready for evaluation.

Originally Posted by Elvis666 View Post
2. What the heck is the "imminent disaster" the article claims can be avoided? The dead imaginary cat?
Yep (I imagine). Just in keeping with the motif of the article.
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Old 4th June 2019, 01:10 PM   #16
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The disaster being referred to must be the decay of the radioactive atom inside the box, which (per the original thought experiment) trips a Geiger counter that triggers a device that kills the cat.

This doesn't seem to relate to the experiment very much, though. If the decoherence-detector is inside the box, then it could have the effect of saving the cat... but so would, for instance, omitting the radioactive atom or turning off the Geiger counter or disabling the killing device. Duh, so what?

And if the decoherence-detector is outside the box, then it's detecting something inside the box that was presupposed in the thought experiment to not allow any information through. That's just a contradiction.

If the key point here is detecting the start of the process of radioactive decay of an atom, in a manner that permits intervention to prevent the decay, why not just say that? I wouldn't think the importance of such a finding would rest on its applicability to veterinary medicine.
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Old 4th June 2019, 04:26 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
If the key point here is detecting the start of the process of radioactive decay of an atom, in a manner that permits intervention to prevent the decay, why not just say that? I wouldn't think the importance of such a finding would rest on its applicability to veterinary medicine.

I thought, to the extent that any of it made any sense to me, that the scientists explicitly said they couldn't use it to stop radioactive decay. The only potential application they seemed to be excited about would be the ability to prevent random errors in quantum computing. And, indeed, one of the study's authors works for IBM.

Shortly after having this thought, I blacked out and when I came to, I had watched all six hours of Good Omens on Netflix.
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Old 4th June 2019, 04:34 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
I thought, to the extent that any of it made any sense to me, that the scientists explicitly said they couldn't use it to stop radioactive decay. The only potential application they seemed to be excited about would be the ability to prevent random errors in quantum computing. And, indeed, one of the study's authors works for IBM.

Shortly after having this thought, I blacked out and when I came to, I had watched all six hours of Good Omens on Netflix.

Yeah, I read it again, and it seems more like the "disaster" they are talking about preventing is the Copenhagen-style "wave function collapse" or a decoherence or the breakdown of a superposed state. In the cat metaphor, that's when the box is opened causing the cat to actually become dead or alive instead of a superposition of both. (So they can save it from being dead, by intervening to put it back into a superposed state. Which might make sense for a qbit in a quantum computer but not for a cat, so maybe they shouldn't have used that as an explanation. They also describe the decoherence as a "quantum jump" which the article illustrates as a cat literally jumping. No wonder everyone's confused.)
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Old 4th June 2019, 04:39 PM   #19
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What they don't realize is it isn't a cat but a rather put upon badger.
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Old 4th June 2019, 07:51 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Hans View Post
What they don't realize is it isn't a cat but a rather put upon badger.
That's why Mrs. Schrödinger was so pissed. "Why did you have to use the cat? You couldn't go out and get a badger!?"
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Old 4th June 2019, 08:35 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by shemp View Post
That's why Mrs. Schrödinger was so pissed. "Why did you have to use the cat? You couldn't go out and get a badger!?"

"What's happened to the cat? It looks half-dead."
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Old 4th June 2019, 08:37 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
My understanding is that the Cat is a thought experiment intended to demonstrate the absurdity of applying macroscopic intuition to quantum-mechanical processes.

Therefore, I reject with prejudice any un-reviewed research that claims to "overturn" any aspect of QM in terms of the Cat.
Is Quinn Martin still alive and making TV shows???


ETA - and I am pretty sure he had nothing to do with T.H.E. Cat anyway...……….
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Old 4th June 2019, 08:41 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Unless it's explained by Colonel Carter in a Stargate episode it just doesn't make sense. How do these findings affect the chances of evil aliens attacking Colorado Springs? For the record I'm fine with evil aliens attacking Colorado Springs so long as they don't do it via a clip show.
"Sheee-hit Sorgent Carter!" as Gomer used to say."
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Old 5th June 2019, 01:40 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Unless it's explained by Colonel Carter in a Stargate episode it just doesn't make sense. How do these findings affect the chances of evil aliens attacking Colorado Springs? For the record I'm fine with evil aliens attacking Colorado Springs so long as they don't do it via a clip show.
The most direct application of this finding to Stargate physics is that, although we can't tell far in advance when Apophis is going to send a squad of Jaffa through the Stargate, we can detect signs that the Stargate is about to open far enough in advance of when chevron 1 is engaged that there's time for Teal'c to get down to the Stargate room and be waiting for them with a staff weapon before the event horizon does that splashy thing and a bunch of serpent guards step into a completely unknown tactical situation and hope nobody's shooting at them yet. Since Teal'c is the only person who can ever hit anything with a staff weapon, the end result is that Colorado Springs is pretty safe from everything but Jack O'Neill's latest snarky comment.

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Old 5th June 2019, 04:39 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
The most direct application of this finding to Stargate physics is that, although we can't tell far in advance when Apophis is going to send a squad of Jaffa through the Stargate, we can detect signs that the Stargate is about to open far enough in advance of when chevron 1 is engaged that there's time for Teal'c to get down to the Stargate room and be waiting for them with a staff weapon before the event horizon does that splashy thing and a bunch of serpent guards step into a completely unknown tactical situation and hope nobody's shooting at them yet. Since Teal'c is the only person who can ever hit anything with a staff weapon, the end result is that Colorado Springs is pretty safe from everything but Jack O'Neill's latest snarky comment.

Dave
Nommed

(made me smile this did)
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Old 5th June 2019, 05:23 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
The most direct application of this finding to Stargate physics is that, although we can't tell far in advance when Apophis is going to send a squad of Jaffa through the Stargate, we can detect signs that the Stargate is about to open far enough in advance of when chevron 1 is engaged that there's time for Teal'c to get down to the Stargate room and be waiting for them with a staff weapon before the event horizon does that splashy thing and a bunch of serpent guards step into a completely unknown tactical situation and hope nobody's shooting at them yet. Since Teal'c is the only person who can ever hit anything with a staff weapon, the end result is that Colorado Springs is pretty safe from everything but Jack O'Neill's latest snarky comment.

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Old 5th June 2019, 05:55 AM   #27
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How much scientific endeavor will continue to be applied to this damn cat before people get the joke?
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Old 5th June 2019, 06:12 AM   #28
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This dovetails perfectly with physics as I learned it at Acme University.
In pursuit of the Roadrunner, Wile. E. Coyote runs off the edge of a cliff. He's in superposition till his observation of his circumstance is complete. First he looks down, then he looks at the viewer, and then, and only then, does he plummet to the ground far below.
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Old 5th June 2019, 06:33 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
This dovetails perfectly with physics as I learned it at Acme University.
In pursuit of the Roadrunner, Wile. E. Coyote runs off the edge of a cliff. He's in superposition till his observation of his circumstance is complete. First he looks down, then he looks at the viewer, and then, and only then, does he plummet to the ground far below.
And as a result, if, on occasion, he notices in time that he's run off the cliff and stops and backs up, he's got time to get back on to the cliff edge before the laws of physics have time to catch him up. That, apart from the coyote and the cliff, is pretty much what this publication suggests.

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Old 5th June 2019, 06:46 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
And as a result, if, on occasion, he notices in time that he's run off the cliff and stops and backs up, he's got time to get back on to the cliff edge before the laws of physics have time to catch him up. That, apart from the coyote and the cliff, is pretty much what this publication suggests.

Dave
Information isn't propagated instantaneously. Some bit of time is needed to
inform.

In Wile E's case, he must not glance at the viewer, thus completing the waveform collapse. He must simply close his eyes and step backwards in the superposition till things have a move favorable view.
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Old 5th June 2019, 08:17 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
That a rather good analogy.
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Old 5th June 2019, 08:58 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by The Man View Post
Interesting, to use a car analogy it would be like seeing someone's reverse lights come on before they back up. With that forewarning you can take action (honk your horn) to decrease the probability of that driver ever entering a 'backing up' state. As noted in the linked thread the decoherence of states in superposition lasts a finite time, while the start of that decoherence (when the car's backup lights come on) is still random (as far as anyone knows).
Do the cats have backup lights???
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Old 5th June 2019, 09:36 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
Is Quinn Martin still alive and making TV shows???
If he were, the show would need to have a nearly non-sequitor subtitle.

"Schrödinger's Kitty in Peril"

Episode 1: "The Looming Uncertainty"
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Old 5th June 2019, 12:49 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
And as a result, if, on occasion, he notices in time that he's run off the cliff and stops and backs up, he's got time to get back on to the cliff edge before the laws of physics have time to catch him up.....

Dave

At which point, the edge of the cliff collapses, and he plummets to the ground anyway...
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Old 5th June 2019, 01:07 PM   #35
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Without disparaging the underlying science itself, the article linked in the OP isn't a science article, it's an "I ******* love science!" article. It's guff for the mass of taxpayers who don't give a crap about knowing actual science, but like the idea of being involved.
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Old 5th June 2019, 04:55 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by BowlOfRed View Post
If he were, the show would need to have a nearly non-sequitor subtitle.

"Schrödinger's Kitty in Peril"

Episode 1: "The Looming Uncertainty"
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Old 7th June 2019, 06:25 AM   #37
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I'm not a physicist, but I like to think I got far enough into QM to at least understand the language and the basics. (Or it may be just Dunning-Kruger speaking.)

First of all, you can forget thinking too much about the cat. Not only it was supposed to be a refutal, but to take it the scenario seriously (as in illustrating rather than refuting the whole thing) requires a certain understanding of QM where "measuring" something requires a human to do the measuring. Essentially that if everyone closed their eyes, every wavefunction in the universe would keep going uncollapsed until someone opens their eyes. Which is a rather fringe position by now. Most mainstream physicists basically think that the wave collapses when it needs to interact with *something* that needs it to be one or the other. Whether it's multiple world interpretation, or objective collapse (which really is multiple worlds without the multiple worlds) or whatever, that's the general gist.

E.g., an electron's position in a double slit experiment is "measured" when it interacts with the screen. E.g., more to the point at hand, the radioactive decay in Schrödinger's box is "measured" when it needs to interact or not with the Geiger counter. I.e., it was solved one way or another long before the human opened the box. The Geiger counter did all the measuring needed.

But even that's a detour on my part, because more to the point: what they're talking about has nothing to do with saving the cat, other than journalistic sensationalism.

Basically what they're saying is that they set up a device that monitors an atom, and the atom can do a state transition, or not. Let's say you have an excited atom, i.e., an electron is in an upper energy band, and it can transition to a lower energy band and emit a photon. You know, like happens in a LASER or neon tube.

Now traditionally this is purely random. You can know on the average how long it stays in an excited state before doing what I just said, but fundamentally you can't know when one particular atom will.

They say that their device can detect in advance that the atom is about to do that. It still is random, and you still can't predict from the start when this will happen, but basically they say you can get notified a picosecond or two in advance that it's about to happen. And if it's important to you that that atom doesn't randomly change state, well, you could excite it right back once you detected that.

The implications for the cat are exactly none.

The implications for physics... well, without seeing the actual paper (and probably knowing a lot more than just the language and basics) it's a bit hard to tell. It sounds like they COULD have just rediscovered the LASER, by the sound of how that detector works, or maybe not. We'll see.

One problem with it, IF essentially it gives you a minimum Δt for that transition is that it would contradict how the weak force works. To wit, the uncertainty principle also says there is a minimum ΔtΔE, and E being mc2, it means a very massive particle can be spawned out of orders of magnitude less energy than its mass, IF it only lives for an incredibly short amount of time. That's essentially why neutrinos can interact with matter at all, and also why they're so hard to detect. So a minimum Δt would be a huuge problem for QM.

But I'd assume that they'd have already thought of such trivial issues. I mean, for any physicist working in research, this would be the trivial stuff.

More likely I'd say it just means that the transition basically is a process that takes a while, rather than being instant. So they can detect the start point, rather than as previously just the end point.

So without seeing the actual paper, it's hard to say exactly what the implications are, if any.
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Old 7th June 2019, 09:48 AM   #38
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Actually, now it occurs to me: could this literally be a case of a minimum ΔtΔE? Depending on how low in the microwave range that is, if they have a very low ΔE in measuring the photons -- e.g., to definitively separate their measurement photons from the ones coming from the atom's transition -- the Δt could be actually measurable. I.e., they could be seeing just the inherent inaccuracy on the time axis of such a measurement, which may or may not be enough to occasionally make it seem like a spontaneous event that causes two things "simultaneously" (and I'm putting air quotes there because of that inherent impossibility there) to be measured as two non-simultaneous events, with one preceding the other.

Now obviously I'm not learned enough to authoritatively say that it IS so. So if anyone smarter than me wants to correct my understanding, it would be appreciated.
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Old 7th June 2019, 10:08 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
Information isn't propagated instantaneously. Some bit of time is needed to
inform.

In Wile E's case, he must not glance at the viewer, thus completing the waveform collapse. He must simply close his eyes and step backwards in the superposition till things have a move favorable view.
But there's a contingent of people on psi sympathetic forums and elsewhere that would argue consciousness is the cause of the wave function collapsing. They would likely argue the mere realization by Wile E's of his predicament would cause him to fall, not his breaking the "fourth wall". They argue so because they don't like Determinism for one thing.
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Old 7th June 2019, 10:35 AM   #40
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by Steve001 View Post
But there's a contingent of people on psi sympathetic forums and elsewhere that would argue consciousness is the cause of the wave function collapsing. They would likely argue the mere realization by Wile E's of his predicament would cause him to fall, not his breaking the "fourth wall". They argue so because they don't like Determinism for one thing.
If you think about it, its implications are even funnier than the cartoon version for Will E Coyote. Because most of those don't seem to include a coyote mind, and none of them include a computer measuring it. So it may be possible to have this snowball effect of an ever growing macroscopic superposition of states where the coyote either fell or didn't, either found something to eat or starved, either reproduced or got his balls caught in a bear trap, ad nauseam until finally a human is there to witness one of the possible results. Not even until Will looks down and sees the hole. Until some thousands of years later some humans finally colonize the area and the universe FINALLY has to roll every single dice involved in the chain of events towards whether they meet one of Will's descendants or not. Only THEN the universe FINALLY decides that yeah, he fell off the cliff, sorry.
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