See What Schrodinger’s Cat Experiment Looks Like with Flies

The paradox has fascinated physicists for decades, but this experiment gives a bit more explanation to the famous quandary.
Shelby Rogers

Schrodinger’s Cat is one of the most famous thought experiments in physics. But what would happen if the popular physics experiment was demonstrated with flies rather than the titular cat?

The team at The Action Lab on YouTube did just that, recreating the experiment using fruit flies.

Erwin Schrodinger first established the paradox in 1935 when he illustrated issues around contemporary theories about quantum superpositioning. Schrodinger famously explained his “ridiculous” idea using this example:

There’s a cat locked in a steel chamber. Its life depends on the state of a radioactive atom and whether that atom emitted radiation or not. The cat would remain both alive and dead until the state of the cat was observed.

The Action Lab team put the fruit flies in a state of superposition by coupling the quantum state of radon with a vacuum chamber. To keep track of the radiation, they used a Geiger counter that took data points at every second.

The flies were put into a vacuum chamber; the vacuum chamber could kill the flies after five minutes lacking oxygen. They were also exposed to radon. According to Schrodinger’s thought experiment, the flies would be in the superposition of both dead and alive during those five minutes because the decay of the radon atoms aren’t in a state until they’re measured using the Geiger counter.

After the five minutes of waiting the flies weren’t dead, and they were released for surviving the box.

However, it’s the team’s explanation of the experiment after that elegantly explains the confusion that often surrounds the Schrodinger paradox.

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