Inside this box is a cat, is the cat dead or alive? Is the print a success or failure? If you never open the box is it both..?
This simple print not only serves as a conversation starter, and demonstration model,
but actually allows you to preform Erwin Schrödingers thought experiment on your
printer with out the need for costly radioactive materials or a reluctant mortal cat.
How it works:
Download the files from this page, there are 2 identically titled STL files, one has a live cat
inside one has a dead cat, chose one at random and load it into your slicer of choice.
NO SPOILERS: DO NOT preview the layers, DO NOT view in x-ray,
also please avoid spoilers in the Comments, and Makes on this page.
Disable supports, Some slicers will still recommend supports but as long as your
printer can bridge 10mm and has decent cooling it will be fine, Also make sure your first
layer is not set too close and does not over squish anything or it may fuse the sliding door
together at the base.
Make sure the print starts, check your first few layers, and then leave the room until it
is done. I realize this is a difficult trust fall for some but do your best
If all goes well you will be left with a box on your printer with unknown contents. However if you think in terms of the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics that box is Filled with possibility and disaster, success and failure, LIFE and DEATH all existing in a state of superposition....essentially saying the kitty is alive AND dead. For the faint of heart I promise nothing graphically morbid is in the design. Only when the box is opened and looked into (one side should slide up if it all printed as intended) and with the observation performed does function collapse into one of the two states and you find out which model you printed.
What's the point?
The idea behind Erwin Schrödingers' thought experiment is surprisingly not to claim the existence of Zombie Cats roaming the earth, nether dead nor alive, being way too picky about what brains they will eat..no. Not to purpose an exciting new cat elimination method available in stores everywhere...no not exactly. Erwin Schrodinger was simply trying to point out the absurdity of the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics and it's views on superposition when applied in the real world. He had an objection to the commonly held interpretation of how the universe works and communicated why in a colorful, easy to grasp thought experiment to get his point across. The goal was to communicate in common terms if that superposition theory was applied to the real world how it doesn't make sense.
This 3d print helps demonstrate the famous experiment in the real world, just as models of atoms provide useful visual aides in chemistry, this can serve a visual demonstration when discussing interpretations of quantum mechanics. ....Also it is a fun desk ornament for physics fans.
As always I will promote and REWARD the first people to post quality makes (must enable tips on your profile for reward). A quality make is a successful, complete, hopefully decent looking print at 100% scale or larger. This doesn't necessarily need painted but extra bonus if it is.
If this proves popular, I will work on some print in place designs and experiments,as well as accessories and variants of this model if requested. So Please post your makes, hit like, and provide feedback on what you would like to see in the comments.
Thank you and enjoy!
.2mm layer height or better
PolyMaker Polysmooth PLA
This is designed to print with no supports, as long as your printer can handle a 10mm gap and has decent part cooling it should print fine.
Overview and Background
Do not try the original experiment at home.
What was the original thought experiment?
A cat, a flask of poison, and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor (e.g. Geiger counter) detects radioactivity (i.e. a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison, which kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when one looks in the box, one sees the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead. This poses the question of when exactly quantum superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other.
Lesson Plan and Activity
Start a discussion on the fundamentals of superposition and why they would be questioned. Use the box (or both boxes if you print the set) to visualize the experiment of Schrödingers Cat.
Explain the goals of the cat thought experiment, why it was a necessary tool to help explain a viewpoint and what the point was.
Ask why it was an effective demonstration of an objection to the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics and why questioning and viewing physics in different context is important to fully understanding things.
Discuss other science communicators like Bill Nye, Neil Degrasse Tyson, and Adam Savage and what the positive impacts being able to state complex ideas in simple, relateable ways have on society and the future of science education.
Ask students to purpose a thought experiment like Schrödingers Cat that would simplify an otherwise complex scientific principal (or objection to one) in an easy to understand and clear way anyone can grasp.
print both files
To make things more visually interesting you can print both files to add to the fun of the discussion of which one contains the live cat.
- thought experiment
- quantum mechanics
Full understanding of Schrödinger's cat and how it applies to different quantum Mechanical interpretations.