Monthly Archives: October 2014

How to tell you’re a nerd: Method 262 (or a Halloween thought experiment, “Schrodinger’s Costume”)


When discussing a possible Halloween costume to wear to a party, you suggest creating an outfit inspired by the 1935 thought experiment known as “Schrodinger’s cat” devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger.

The original experiment postulated a quantum theory called superposition by placing a cat in a chamber made of steel along with a vial of deadly hydrocyanic acid, which may break open through the use of a hammer apparatus If even one atom of the acid is decayed during the experiment’s time frame.

Since opening the chamber would be the only way to tell if the vial was broken, there would be a paradoxical period of time prior to making that observation in which the cat is both dead and alive.

Thus, your costume, which you call Schrodinger’s Costume, calls for you to not RSVP to the party. Instead, you arrange for a large man-sized box with air holes to be delivered to the party. The contents of the box aren’t visible from the outside. On the outside of the box is a note, which reads:

“This is ‘Schrodinger’s Costume.’ (Your Name) may have decided to attend your party by being in this box. Do not open to verify attendance until after the party. Until then, (Your Name) is both attending and absent from your party. Enjoy the paradox and Happy Halloween!”