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## Schrödinger’s Cache

A cache by teamkittens Message this owner
Hidden : 11/16/2004
Difficulty:
Terrain:

Size:  (micro)

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### Geocache Description:

Schrödinger’s cat is a famous paradox, first described by the physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935 as part of an essay describing the conceptual problems in quantum mechanics. The Schrödinger’s cat experiment illustrates a principle in quantum theory called superposition, and demonstrates the conflict between what quantum theory tells us is true about the nature and behaviour of matter on the microscopic (atom-sized) level, and what we observe to be true on the macroscopic (cat-sized) level.

The thought experiment goes as follows: We take a living cat and place it in a steel box for one hour. In the box is a Geiger counter with a tiny amount of radioactive substance, and a small sealed flask of hydrocyanic acid (very bad for cats). The amount of radioactive material is so small that there is a 50% chance of one of the atoms in the material decaying in the course of one hour; there is likewise a 50% chance that none will decay. If an atom does decay, the Geiger counter will measure it, and set off a process which will shatter the flask, releasing the acid.

If we leave the system to itself for one hour, and no atoms have decayed, the cat will be still alive. But if an atom has decayed, it will have been poisoned. Until the box is opened at the end of the hour, we will not know what has happened. According to quantum law then, the cat is both dead and alive, in a superposition of states. It is only when we break open the box and learn the condition of that cat that the superposition is lost, and the cat becomes either dead or alive.

We know that superposition actually occurs at the subatomic level, because there are observable effects of interference, in which a single particle is demonstrated to be in multiple locations simultaneously. What that fact implies about the nature of reality on the observable level (cats, for example, as opposed to electrons) is one of the stickiest areas of quantum physics. Schrödinger himself said, later in life, that he wished he had never met that cat.

Schrödinger’s Cache is inspired by the famous thought experiment, Schrödinger’s Cat. At the listed coordinates you will find information which will enable you to calculate the coordinates for the two possible locations for the cache. In one of these locations, you will find an active cache. At the other, an empty soulless Tupperware container. Whichever location you go to first, you will have a 50% chance of finding the active Schrödinger’s cache. Until you have found the first container, according to quantum theory, the cache is simultaneously in both locations, and in neither. Only direct observation will solidify the cache’s location in the Universe.

HOW TO OBTAIN THE TWO POSSIBLE LOCATIONS

If you go to the area given by the above coordinates, you will find two signs. The diagrams on the signs were drawn by the artist in the year ABCD.

E = A + 6
F = C – 3
G = C – D

Location One
S 37° 44.3FD
E 145° 08.5EG

Location Two
S 37° 44.2B8
E 145° 08.GE0

The containers in both locations are magnetic – no need to trample vegetation to get to them.

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