Fate in the Cat

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Fate in the Cat:
This story depicts a conversation between Dr.Eddington and a mysterious voice. Who is this mysterious voice, some may question.
As Dr. Eddington picked up a half-torn scrap of paper off the cold hard ground, his eyes widened, his mouth was left slightly ajar and blood slowly drained from his face. As he read it, his hands trembled more and more. It read, “Meet me in the alley on the corner of 42nd street and Vincent’s street”.
Millions of thoughts rushed through Dr. Eddington’s head as he headed to the designated location. “Who is this? “. “Why me?” This note had appeared in several different places and each time, Dr. Eddington used to burn them but this time he decided to put an end to this prank or so he thought…
When he reached the alley, it was shrouded in darkness and not a single soul was there. As Dr.Eddington was about to turn around and head home, he heard a voice.
“Do you believe in fate Mr. Eddington?” said the mysterious voice.
Dr. Eddington froze. Being a theoretical physicist, he was a man of science and thought anything that cannot be logically explained was a hoax and unreal.
“No” Dr.Eddington responded.
“Well then, I’ve heard that you’re a renounced physicist. So have you heard about the Schrodinger’s cat experiment?” The mysterious voice calm and composed.
“Yes but what has that got to do with anything?” Dr.Eddington now getting slightly irritated.
“Think about it. What did Schrodinger prove with his famous experiment involving a black box and a cat? The mysterious voice responded.
Dr.Eddington recalled the experiment in his mind, softly muttering it out, “Cat was placed in a black box… instrument used to measure radioactivity… if an atom decays…vile breaks releasing poisonous gas that kills the cat.”
“No no no, you’re missing point Mr. Eddington” said the voice
How did he hear me wondered Dr.Eddington as the voice continued to speak.
“The point of his experiment was to explain superposition, that an object can be in all possible states and all possible outcomes can occur until humans observe and interfere with the experiment. He said that it’s our observation that forces all other outcomes of nature to collapse but one.”
“So?” Dr.Eddington interrupted rather rudely.
“In the case of Schrodinger’s experiment, he couldn’t know for sure if the cat was dead or alive until he opened the black box and till then, he assumed the cat was both alive and dead. He concluded that the cat’s fate is said to be entangled with the outcome of the experiment.”
“What does this have to do anything with fate?” Dr.Eddington clearly frustrated and anger continuing to build within him.
“Schrodinger also proved that this happens on the sub-atomic level. You do agree with this right?”
Dr.Eddington took a moment to think and responded, “Yes”.
“So that now means that what happens in everyday life, events, incidences are all affected in the same way. This is where many great scientists have argued as to where does this strange quantum world stop and where does classical physics take over. When do you think so, Mr. Eddington?”
“ I suppose in this universe, quantum physics doesn’t apply and classical physics rules us for example, what goes up must come down and also that every force has an equal and opposite reaction said Dr.Eddington responded sounding confident yet having a doubt lingering somewhere in him.
“Yes, yes, you do have a point there but here’s where it gets interesting. What if I told you that this strange quantum world continues to exist in this very universe alongside with classical physics”.
“I’m listening” Dr.Eddington responding almost instantaneously.
“What if, just like the cat in the box, the events in our everyday life has a number of different outcomes and something greater and more powerful than us forces all other outcomes of nature to collapse but one and our misconception is that all events only have one, and only one possible outcome.”
Dr.Eddington eyes widened and his jaw dropped. His heart skipped a beat and all he could mutter was, “What is this greater and more powerful thing?”
“I want you to think of the complications of this. If the events that occur on a daily basis are controlled by something or even someone, how much of the future of the Earth is in our hand?”
“I…I don’t know? “Muttered Dr.Eddington.
As the voice vanished into the darkness, Dr.Eddington stood there, rooted to the floor thinking, and thinking of what he had just heard. “How…but I … I “. All that he could picture was that cat and how that cat had changed his world or rather controlled his world forever…

About the Author: 
Mantej Singh is a budding young author who is currently a student studying in Singapore. In his free time, he enjoys writing stories ranging from crime to sci-fi to even philosophy. He also loves literature as well as reading books and his favourite author is Malcolm Galdwell.

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Quantum Theories

B is for ... Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

At extremely low temperatures, quantum rules mean that atoms can come together and behave as if they are one giant super-atom.

T is for ... Tunnelling

This happens when quantum objects “borrow” energy in order to bypass an obstacle such as a gap in an electrical circuit. It is possible thanks to the uncertainty principle, and enables quantum particles to do things other particles can’t.

I is for ... Interferometer

Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer: the device’s output is a pattern that can only be explained by the photon passing simultaneously through two widely-separated slits.

D is for ... Dice

Albert Einstein decided quantum theory couldn’t be right because its reliance on probability means everything is a result of chance. “God doesn’t play dice with the world,” he said.

Y is for ... Young's Double Slit Experiment

In 1801, Thomas Young proved light was a wave, and overthrew Newton’s idea that light was a “corpuscle”.

L is for ... Light

We used to believe light was a wave, then we discovered it had the properties of a particle that we call a photon. Now we know it, like all elementary quantum objects, is both a wave and a particle!

I is for ... Information

Many researchers working in quantum theory believe that information is the most fundamental building block of reality.

W is for ... Wavefunction

The mathematics of quantum theory associates each quantum object with a wavefunction that appears in the Schrödinger equation and gives the probability of finding it in any given state.

P is for ... Probability

Quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory: it does not give definite answers, but only the probability that an experiment will come up with a particular answer. This was the source of Einstein’s objection that God “does not play dice” with the universe.

M is for ... Multiverse

Our most successful theories of cosmology suggest that our universe is one of many universes that bubble off from one another. It’s not clear whether it will ever be possible to detect these other universes.

S is for ... Schrödinger’s Cat

A hypothetical experiment in which a cat kept in a closed box can be alive and dead at the same time – as long as nobody lifts the lid to take a look.

A is for ... Act of observation

Some people believe this changes everything in the quantum world, even bringing things into existence.

A is for ... Alice and Bob

In quantum experiments, these are the names traditionally given to the people transmitting and receiving information. In quantum cryptography, an eavesdropper called Eve tries to intercept the information.

Q is for ... Qubit

One quantum bit of information is known as a qubit (pronounced Q-bit). The ability of quantum particles to exist in many different states at once means a single quantum object can represent multiple qubits at once, opening up the possibility of extremely fast information processing.

R is for ... Radioactivity

The atoms of a radioactive substance break apart, emitting particles. It is impossible to predict when the next particle will be emitted as it happens at random. All we can do is give the probability that any particular atom will have decayed by a given time.

S is for ... Schrödinger Equation

This is the central equation of quantum theory, and describes how any quantum system will behave, and how its observable qualities are likely to manifest in an experiment.

V is for ... Virtual particles

Quantum theory’s uncertainty principle says that since not even empty space can have zero energy, the universe is fizzing with particle-antiparticle pairs that pop in and out of existence. These “virtual” particles are the source of Hawking radiation.

M is for ... Many Worlds Theory

Some researchers think the best way to explain the strange characteristics of the quantum world is to allow that each quantum event creates a new universe.

T is for ... Teleportation

Quantum tricks allow a particle to be transported from one location to another without passing through the intervening space – or that’s how it appears. The reality is that the process is more like faxing, where the information held by one particle is written onto a distant particle.

U is for ... Uncertainty Principle

One of the most famous ideas in science, this declares that it is impossible to know all the physical attributes of a quantum particle or system simultaneously.

W is for ... Wave-particle duality

It is possible to describe an atom, an electron, or a photon as either a wave or a particle. In reality, they are both: a wave and a particle.

L is for ... Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

At CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, this machine is smashing apart particles in order to discover their constituent parts and the quantum laws that govern their behaviour.

O is for ... Objective reality

Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, said there is no such thing as objective reality. All we can talk about, he said, is the results of measurements we make.

A is for ... Atom

This is the basic building block of matter that creates the world of chemical elements – although it is made up of more fundamental particles.

P is for ... Planck's Constant

This is one of the universal constants of nature, and relates the energy of a single quantum of radiation to its frequency. It is central to quantum theory and appears in many important formulae, including the Schrödinger Equation.

X is for ... X-ray

In 1923 Arthur Compton shone X-rays onto a block of graphite and found that they bounced off with their energy reduced exactly as would be expected if they were composed of particles colliding with electrons in the graphite. This was the first indication of radiation’s particle-like nature.

G is for ... Gluon

These elementary particles hold together the quarks that lie at the heart of matter.

H is for ... Hidden Variables

One school of thought says that the strangeness of quantum theory can be put down to a lack of information; if we could find the “hidden variables” the mysteries would all go away.

D is for ... Decoherence

Unless it is carefully isolated, a quantum system will “leak” information into its surroundings. This can destroy delicate states such as superposition and entanglement.

F is for ... Free Will

Ideas at the heart of quantum theory, to do with randomness and the character of the molecules that make up the physical matter of our brains, lead some researchers to suggest humans can’t have free will.

K is for ... Kaon

These are particles that carry a quantum property called strangeness. Some fundamental particles have the property known as charm!

B is for ... Bell's Theorem

In 1964, John Bell came up with a way of testing whether quantum theory was a true reflection of reality. In 1982, the results came in – and the world has never been the same since!

U is for ... Universe

To many researchers, the universe behaves like a gigantic quantum computer that is busy processing all the information it contains.

R is for ... Randomness

Unpredictability lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. It bothered Einstein, but it also bothers the Dalai Lama.

E is for ... Entanglement

When two quantum objects interact, the information they contain becomes shared. This can result in a kind of link between them, where an action performed on one will affect the outcome of an action performed on the other. This “entanglement” applies even if the two particles are half a universe apart.

S is for ... Superposition

Quantum objects can exist in two or more states at once: an electron in superposition, for example, can simultaneously move clockwise and anticlockwise around a ring-shaped conductor.

H is for ... Hawking Radiation

In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that the principles of quantum mechanics would mean that a black hole emits a slow stream of particles and would eventually evaporate.

G is for ... Gravity

Our best theory of gravity no longer belongs to Isaac Newton. It’s Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. There’s just one problem: it is incompatible with quantum theory. The effort to tie the two together provides the greatest challenge to physics in the 21st century.

R is for ... Reality

Since the predictions of quantum theory have been right in every experiment ever done, many researchers think it is the best guide we have to the nature of reality. Unfortunately, that still leaves room for plenty of ideas about what reality really is!

C is for ... Cryptography

People have been hiding information in messages for millennia, but the quantum world provides a whole new way to do it.

Q is for ... Quantum biology

A new and growing field that explores whether many biological processes depend on uniquely quantum processes to work. Under particular scrutiny at the moment are photosynthesis, smell and the navigation of migratory birds.

J is for ... Josephson Junction

This is a narrow constriction in a ring of superconductor. Current can only move around the ring because of quantum laws; the apparatus provides a neat way to investigate the properties of quantum mechanics.

Z is for ... Zero-point energy

Even at absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible, nothing has zero energy. In these conditions, particles and fields are in their lowest energy state, with an energy proportional to Planck’s constant.

C is for ... Computing

The rules of the quantum world mean that we can process information much faster than is possible using the computers we use now.

N is for ... Nonlocality

When two quantum particles are entangled, it can also be said they are “nonlocal”: their physical proximity does not affect the way their quantum states are linked.