The Fate of Schrödinger’s Cat Probably Isn’t in The Hands of Gravity, Experiment Finds
+ A number of physicists have wondered if good old gravity is responsible for forcing the particle equivalent of a roulette ball to settle into its metaphorical pocket. That’s looking a little less likely in the wake of a new experiment.
Researchers from across Europe recently tested a potential explanation of the apparent collapse of a waveform, determined not by observations or weirdly branching multiverses, but by the geometry of spacetime.
+ Kick an electron enough and you’ll force it to cry photons of light. Logically, all that’s left is to create a kind of Schrödinger’s cat experiment by locking the right kind of material inside a lead box, buried far from the confounding effects of radiation, and listen for its cries. That material, in this case, is germanium.
+ If Penrose’s sums are right, a crystal of germanium should generate tens of thousands of photon flashes over several months as its superpositioned particles settle into measured states.+ But Diósi and his team didn’t observe tens of thousands of photons.
+ Over a two month period when they conducted the experiment underground five years ago at INFN Gran Sasso National Laboratory, they measured barely several hundred – just what you’d expect from the radiation that managed to leak through.
+ Penrose isn’t too worried. If gravity were to cause particles to emit radiation on collapse, it might run against the Universe’s tightly controlled laws of thermodynamics, anyway.
+ Of course, this isn’t the end of the story. In future experiments, gravity might yet be shown to be responsible for flattening quantum waves. Right now, anything seems possible.
Content may have been edited for style and clarity. The “+” to the left of paragraphs or other statements indicates quoted material from “Source:” document. Boldface title is original title from “Source:” Italicized statements are directly quoted from “Source:” document. Image sources are indicated as applicable.