Learn with ABA English – Schrödinger’s Cat

Guten Tag!

(that’s “Good day” in German).

Today we have an intellectual lesson prepared. Who knows what “Schrödinger’s Cat” is?

Let’s find out…

1. Read the text
2. Understand the vocabulary
3. Watch the documentary


Erwin Schrödinger was a physicist, a theoretical biologist, and probably more of a dog person.

In the 1920’s, scientists discovered quantum mechanics, which said that some particles are so tiny you can’t even measure them without changing them. But the theory only worked if, before you measured them, the particle was in a super position of every posible state all at the same time.

To tackle that, Schrödinger imagined a cat in a box with a radioactive particle and a Geiger counter attached to a vile of poison. If the particle decays, it triggers the Geiger counter, releases the posion and “Bye bye, Tiddles”. But if the particle is in two states, both decayed and not decayed the cat is also in two states, both dead and not dead. Until someone looks in the box.

In practice, it’s impossible to put a cat into a super position, you’d have the animal rights lobby up in arms. But you can isolate atoms, and they do seem to be in two states at once. Quantum mechanics challenges our whole perception of reality, so maybe its understandable that Schrödinger himself decided he didn’t like it and was sorry he ever started on about cats.


Dog person – someone who likes dogs more than cats.

State – a way of living or existing.

Tackle – to deal with (something difficult).

Geiger counter – an instrument used for measuring ionizing radiation.

Vial – a very small glass or plastic container used for perfumes, medicines, etc.

Decays – to be slowly destroyed by natural processes : to be slowly broken down by the natural processes that destroy a dead plant or body.

Triggers – something that causes something else to happen.

Releases – the act of allowing a substance to enter the air, water, soil, etc.

Up in arms – angry and ready to fight or argue.


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