I Am A Quantum Physics Enigma

On Finding The Most Famous Thought Experiment In A Dumpster

Liam Ireland
ILLUMINATION
3 min readJun 20, 2024

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Image by Chris Hendry on Facebook

The Schrodinger ’Thought Experiment’ involving the idea of a cat being trapped in a box, in a state of being both dead and alive at one and the same time, has to be almost as famous as Einstein’s E=mc2 equation.

What is Einstien’s Equation?

“Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.” On the most basic level, the equation says that energy and mass (matter) are interchangeable; they are different forms of the same thing. Under the right conditions, energy can become mass, and vice versa.”

What is Schrödinger’s Cat Theory?

Schrödinger’s Cat is a famous thought experiment that demonstrates the idea in quantum physics that tiny particles can be in two states at once until they’re observed. It asks you to imagine a cat in a box with a mechanism that might kill it. Until you look inside, the cat is both alive and dead at the same time.

It’s interesting to note that the two concepts have something in common; for something to be two distinctly different things at one and the same time. Energy and matter, dead and alive, young and old…Whoa! Where the hell did that last one come from?

A Eureka Moment In Time

All of my life I dreaded reaching old age, seeing it as a time of near death, a life compromised by physical and mental ailments and infirmity, a life of debilitating disabilities and depleted reserves of energy, painfully insufficient to deal with the all too rapid onset of the descent into the inevitable, ultimate end of life scenario.

On the 18th of June 2024, I finally made it to my 70th birthday and a Eureka moment that set me free. Free from what exactly? From being a hostage to commonly held perceptions of what it means to be of senior years, for a start.

I have to say, there have been times when I never thought I would ever make it this far. Many fine and younger friends and relatives have been lost along the way, yet I survived. I do not understand why, though for the purposes of this piece ‘Why?’ really doesn’t matter. The thing is…

I have realised that yes, for a living thing, be it a cat or a human, it is possible to be in two different states at the same time. In this case, not unlike Schrodinger’s Cat being dead and alive until somebody opens the box, a person can be young and old, until they take a look in the mirror. However, even then the matter is not resolved.

Seeing my own image in a mirror does not alter the fact that despite being perceptively physically old, at the same time, my unseen mind remains as young as I want it to be. If anything, I feel like I am mentally at my peak seeing far better with my mind than I ever did with my eyes! It gets better.

Whilst it is true that I have in recent years become beset with all manner of physical ailments (PMR/GCA, for example) I am no less physically active than before. In fact, if anything, I am actually more active than ever I was, walking and cycling between five and fifteen kilometres a day, which is a lot more than people half my numerical age.

This leads me to the conclusion that the physical me is the life-worn dumpster pictured above wherein resides the dead/alive cat, the full/empty mind, the mass/energy resource…

Empty When Full

My mind may well be full of all manner of life experiences, but there is still enough space to fit in a lifetime more. A week or so before my birthday, my wife and I took ourselves off into the Japanese Alps for some hard hiking. We not only did it, we are raring to go again, to climb a few mountains more before we shuffle off this mortal coil. At the same time, I am hopeful of getting back to the south of Spain to get back to a little sailing and surfing I used to do not too many years ago, skitting across the turbulent white water waves of the ocean. Old age? Bring it on.

I Am A Living Breathing Major Bio-Scientific Discovery

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Liam Ireland
ILLUMINATION

Author, writer, Illumination Editor, Top Writer in short stories and poetry.https://www.amazon.com/author/ryanobryan