The cat at the vet’s

A Benjamin Schwartz cartoon from the March 30th New Yorker:

Some friends have written me to ask for an explanation of this cartoon. The key part is the name Schrödinger. The cartoon is about Schrödinger’s cat, which has a certain fame in theoretical physics

From Wikipedia:

Schrödinger’s cat is a thought experiment, sometimes described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. It illustrates what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics applied to everyday objects. The scenario presents a cat which may be simultaneously both alive and dead, a state known as a quantum superposition, as a result of being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur. The thought experiment is also often featured in theoretical discussions of the interpretations of quantum mechanics. Schrödinger coined the term Verschränkung (entanglement) in the course of developing the thought experiment.

The vet in the cartoon uses the “good news – bad news” formula to explain things to Schrödinger: the good news is that the cat is alive; the bad news is that the cat is dead.

2 Responses to “The cat at the vet’s”

  1. Michael Vnuk Says:

    Note the lizard, possibly an iguana, being awkwardly held by the man in the background.

  2. Houdini’s cat | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] from my 3/26/15 posting “The cat at the vet’s”, with the cartoon caption “About your cat, Mr. […]

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