Definition of Schrödinger's cat in US English:

Schrödinger's cat


  • A cat imagined as being enclosed in a box with a radioactive source and a poison that will be released when the source (unpredictably) emits radiation, the cat being considered (according to quantum mechanics) to be simultaneously both dead and alive until the box is opened and the cat observed.

    The concept was described by Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. He conceived of it as a thought experiment to illustrate (or ridicule) a theory, associated with Niels Bohr, according to which the quantum state of a particle could not be known until an observation was made; prior to that it had to be described physically in terms of all possible states

    ‘the talk promises to demystify all the secrets of quantum physics, including Schrödinger's cat, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, and parallel universes’
    • ‘Have ANY of you come up with your own solutions to Schrödinger's cat?’
    • ‘Schrodinger's cat is an icon of modern physics - but what is it exactly?’
    • ‘We are intended to regard Schrödinger's cat, for example, as alive, relative to the uranium atoms remaining intact, during the critical interval, and dead relative to there having occurred, within this interval, at least one decay.’
    • ‘A first example of the alleged strangeness that comes with quantum mechanics is provided by the mystery of Schrödinger's cat.’
    • ‘The mythical 'Schrödinger's cat' remains both dead and alive in its closed box until externally examined.’
    • ‘The process of decoherence seems to play a role in deciding how acceptable classical histories can be singled out. Our Universe, it seems, behaves like a big Schrödinger's cat.’


Schrödinger's cat

/ˌSHrōdiNGərz ˈkat/