Schrödiner's Cat: Artist Statement
“Everyone's heard of Erwin Schrodinger's famous thought experiment. You put a cat in a box with a bottle of poison, which many people would suggest is about as far as you need to go.”
—Terry Pratchett, The Unadulterated Cat
In 1935, in a letter to Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger proposed a thought experiment in which a cat is locked in a box along with a radioactive atom connected to a vial of deadly poison. If the atom decays it causes the vial to break, killing the cat. While the box is sealed it is unknown whether the atom has decayed or not, which according to the Copenhagen Interpretation means the atom has both decayed and not decayed, which in turn means that the cat is simultaneously both dead and alive. In1957 Hugh Everett reconciles the paradox by proposing that both the dead and alive states of the cat persist, but are decoherent from each other, existing in alternate Universes.
“Schrödinger’s Cat” considers Hugh Everett’s Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics through Schrödinger’s original critique of the Copenhagen Interpretation. Although Schrödinger never actually conducted his experiment, according to Everett there is reason to consider that in some alternate Universes crazy Schrödingers did. And among those Universes there’s no reason not to expect that in at least one the cat turns the tables … and wins.
Photography: Randall Smith