Trapped in the in-between, questioning the reality of the quantum world.
A cat so famous you might even have heard of it. Yet, it is merely a figment of the imagination of a famous physicist: Erwin Schrödinger thought of trapping a cat in a box with a particle that once it decays triggers a mechanism and releases a deathly poison. The particle will be in superposition, a state that has not yet revealed whether it has decayed and not decayed, and therefore, by the nature of quantum mechanics, is both decayed and not decayed. Schrödinger wondered whether the cat is entangled with the quantum particle such that it is itself in a superposition. So rather than being dead or alive, it is both dead and alive. With this Gedankenexperiment Schrödinger explored the boundaries between our perceived reality and the quantum world. Today, we know that quantum effects are extremely delicate and quickly disappear in large systems like a cat due to decoherence. Nowadays, the largest quantum superpositions are made from molecules with up to 2000 atoms and it remains a formidable challenge to put large quantum systems together.
From Schrödinger’s cat to transistors.