- If it makes you feel any better, that's an utterly wrong interpretation of this thought experiment and leads to stupid theories that utterly misrepresent the rather mundane and mathematical quantum mechanics. +Tony Veroeven
- Same to you... a cat would
be clearly alive or dead, as it is not a particle subject to quantum effects. There is no wave function for a cat that exists in a closed system that can collapse when interacted with. (There's a key bit missing compared to the original that somebody points out above, but the focus is never supposed to be on the cat anyway).
The whole point
is to show how -- at very specific sizes -- things behave oddly (and affect larger things). It's silly that a cat could be both alive and dead given these circumstances. But at a certain level (well smaller than a cat), it happens all the time. The "observer" is not a human - it's simply anything that takes information away from the system. Basically, if it interacts with any other particle (in a particular way), it is considered observed. Way less mystical or human-centric than it sounds.
It's pretty mundane and mathematical. My wife just walked out the door to go spend all day reworking a simulation that takes quantum effects into account. Her grad student and some of her post-doc work was specifically to do modeling of quantum effects (she did Proton Coupled Electron Transfer, which is, simplistically, when a proton and electron "jump" together).+Carl Grahn
- You say these theories don't help anybody? She's a theoretical chemist and works in the pharmaceutical research side of a research university to help model protein interaction. It's hard to say that actually healing and saving people's lives is of no "lasting benefit".
Thanks to +Andrew Piscitello
for making some of the same points up top. This is a commonly misrepresented part of science.