Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Why Quantum Physics isn't Good Bedtime Reading

Every year my town throws a celebration called Mollyockett day. It's in honor of Mollyockett a native american woman who played a big role in the early history of Bethel, Maine. The highlight of the day for most people is the parade or the fireworks, not for me. The highlight of my day is the library book sale when the local library raises money by selling donated used books really cheap, 50 cents for paperback and $1 for hardcover. I always end up with a very heavy bag (or two) of books. This year I bought 17 books which cost me all of $8.50 (however one book of jokes for new mothers is for a friend of mine that is expecting so I really only got 16 books to read).

Being the strange type of person I am the first book I chose to read was "In Search of Schrödinger's Cat" which is the story of quantum physics. I won't go into much detail about it, go ahead and read it or another book on the topic if you want an explanation. To sum it up though: nothing is real until it is observed and a cat can be both dead and alive at the same time.

Schrödinger's Cat is a thought experiment proposed many years ago that basically says that if you have a cat in a closed box with a bottle of poison gas and a sample of a radioactive substance. At a set time if radioactive decay takes place (which is completely random) the bottle is broken and the cat dies, if it doesn't the cat lives. However since the box is closed you can't know if the cat is alive or dead until the box is open so until it is observed the cat is both dead and alive (or neither).

So late at night lying in bed after reading this the thought just keeps going through my head that I should sculpt Schrödinger's Cat. Or more precisely I should sculpt two cats, one that looks alive and one that looks dead. I will put these cats in boxes, the way I envisage it they would be little wooden boxes that look like shipping crates with Schrödinger's Cat stenciled on the sides, no one aside from me will know which box each cat is in (and if I do a good job makign the boxes look identical I'm likely to forget) so the person buying the cat will not know until they open the box which cat they got.

I've been working on the armature for the two cats, haven't really gotten much further than that because I'm busy with the art show preparations and I'm trying to track down a source for little wooden crates so I don't have to try and built them myself (I have bad luck with most wood working). I don't have photos because that would spoil the surprise. My intention is to not reveal the cats or which box it was in until the first one is sold and opened (I'll of course take photos in advance for this) so after I finish the only photos up will be the sealed boxes.
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