My cat’s name is Schrödinger

My cat’s name is Schrödinger, and let me tell you: I find it very funny. She’s a little black female cat. People are usually not able to correctly pronounce that name after hearing it once.

Where does that funky name comes from? Well, for those who might not know him yet, Erwin Schrödinger is one of the most important physicists who participated in the elaboration of the quantum mechanics theory.

He is famous for coming out with his eponymous equation, Schrödinger’s equation, among other things, which is a fundamental equation of quantum mechanics that describes the temporal evolution of the state of a physical system in which quantum effects take place. It is central to the study of quantum systems, and acts as the quantum analog to Newton’s second law (or, F = ma) in classical mechanics.

Aside from its mathematical contribution to quantum mechanics, Schrödinger is also known for devising a thought experiment called Schrödinger’s cat, in which a cat is both alive and dead at the same time. This is the interpretation, according to him, of a quantum superposition state that is arising from an event that may or may not occur (a particle disintegration in this case).

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This is to highlight what Schrödinger saw as weaknesses in the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics when the latter is applied to everyday macroscopic objects.

Regarding my cat, I can assure you she’s alive and not in a zombie state, and I am not torturing her in cruel experiments. I just thought that it was funny to name my female cat after a male physicist who devised a thought experiment that features a cat instead of giving her a mainstream and boring name such as Lucy or Lily.

Anyway, to be honest, a vast and deep comprehension of quantum mechanics or other fundamental theories of physics certainly is fascinating and essential if you want to understand and explore how things really work, but is not very useful for our everyday work here at Gentec-EO (how surprising?).

However, the reality is that without the quantum theory, we wouldn’t have been able and motivated to develop and manufacture hundreds of different laser power and energy meters, and to keep pushing this technology toward its limit. Why is that?

Because lasers wouldn’t exist. Lasers would never have been developed without a profound understanding of this area of fundamental physics that are quantum mechanics. It was Albert Einstein in 1917 who proposed the principle behind lasers, or formerly, stimulated light emission.

Oh, I think I found my next pet’s name... Well, never mind, thinking about it, this name was already used by Dr. Brown for his dog. And by the way, I don’t look as crazy as him (Dr. Brown).

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Alexandre Charbonneau
Application Physicist
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