If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention…

I am the first person to admit I an very bad at mathematics. I couldn’t hope to achieve any sort of serious grounding in the ‘hard’ sciences, but it’s the power of scientific concepts that grab me. Which is probably why I write science fiction romance 😀

I was looking at quantum mechanics and quantum probability recently to help me underpin a story. I needed more depth…but, wow, it’s a subject that makes you stare off into space and frown. Hard.

The quantum world is a weird and slippery one. Erwin Schrodinger got tired of its weirdness and proposed a thought experiment. His most famous one. He shut a cat in a box.

In with the cat is a device that can deliver a lethal poison and a radioactive atomic nucleus. The particle emitted when the nucleus decays releases the poison and kills the cat. The moment of decay can’t be predicted, the only certain outcome is that at some point in time it will decay. When the lid on the box is closed, the cat is alive and the atom undecayed. They become quantum superpositions. The atom is in the state of being both decayed and undecayed. The cat both alive and dead.

Until the lid is opened, until the observation, the measurement is made, the cat exists in the probability of both these states. Surprisingly, with the lid lifted, they never seem to find zombie cats…

I have to say I play quantum probability in real life too. The pause before a lottery email is opened, where the answer exists in a probable state of me both being a millionaire and not.

I’m still trying to open the lid on me becoming insanely rich.  I can count zeroes 😉