Saturday, March 2, 2013

Cats A-Z: S (Schrodinger's Cat)

"Schrodinger's Cat" 
6" x 8" (paper) 4" x 4" (image) 
Oil-based inks on white Subi paper 
Artist's Proof 
Available for purchase here. 

The unbroken bottle stands firm in the puddle of poison and shattered remains of its smashed counterpart. The cat orbits around, chained to his fate. The laws of the physical world yield no escape. His two possible, equally probable states of living and dead blend into each other at the ends to complete one solid form. He has become a symbol of uncertainty. The most common, yet mysterious of household pets reminding us that there are outcomes we just can't know until the hammer falls. 

"Schrodinger's Cat" refers to a famous thought experiment in physics postulated by Erwin Schrodinger. According to quantum mechanics, physical systems have multiple states simultaneously and only take on one particular state when observed. To illustrate the paradox and conflict this poses with common sense, Schrodinger described a hypothetical experiment where a devise would smash a vial of poison (thus killing a living cat inside), or not, depending on whether one of the atoms inside decayed or not. According to quantum mechanics, after an hour the cat inside would end up somehow in equal parts both dead and alive.   

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