Saturday, 6 August 2005

Cat - dead and alive; mf - ugly and pretty

Kel just called. Somehow he mentioned Schroedinger's cat. Rang a giant bell that I could not locate. From what I gathered, the cat is both alive and dead when the box is closed; if I were to open the box, I would be forcing a state on it, ie it will be either dead or alive. But then, why would I want it to be BOTH alive and dead? :p

Apparently this has to do with wave function. Oh dear, this maths major is completely useless now.. Kel's explanation fell like water on a hotplate.. I simply could not understand how the cat's state could be explained by Ax = ax*!! Oh, A is the operating matrix, a the eigen value, x the eigen vector. Supposedly.. well, I won't even try to relate his explanations!

He then tried to give me an analogy - btw, I was vetting his literature review on using analogies to teach earlier - to illustrate the Schroedinger's point. I had to imagine him outside a closed room where I was in. In the room, I looked into the mirror and decided that I was both pretty and ugly. Outside the room, Kel didn't know if I were pretty or ugly. But when he opened the door, he would decide if I was pretty OR ugly.

Ahhh, I now see how the cat can be both breathing and cold :) But I still don't understand the Ax = ax thing :p

Just find it odd that he should make such an analogy when I was just writing about myself being a cat.. Coincidence infers a good day! Be happy, peeps! :)



  1. I don't quite agree with the analogy...Opening the box doesn't force a state on the cat, it merely satisfies one's curiosity. It already is dead OR alive (prob dead if it's in a locked box all this while :p). That's not for anyone to decide, is it?

    Can you even think you were ugly and pretty at the same time? Thought they were mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive states. You can think part of you are one or the other, but overall you can only be one, right?

    Anyone who calls you ugly deserves to be locked up in the box with the cat ;)

  2. shit man i totally forgot about eigenvectors and blah... i remember working with them in uni tho, and i think there was this module that sz was recommending me to take, which i think sy took. it scares the shit out of me, these matrices...

    kel is weird. dun mix with him anymore. *shudders*

    by the way, a kitty is a ニャンコ, a puppy a ワンコ.


  3. thanks uh for calling me weird. and u're free to make an appointment so that we can discuss eigenvalues, eigenvectors, hermitian operators... my number is 1800-xXXXXXXX

  4. i am not sure if i correct, the whole thing is that there is uncertainty in the box(we do not know if its dead or alive), so we just need to know the end, that is when we open the box... hahhaaaa...
    meaning in science, we don't really care what is actually happening in the process, but to know why there is a start and know the implication of the end. Treat it like a black box...


    but i still don't understand, the cat is suppose to explain the contradiction in quantum mechanics


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