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BatiGol Weekly 242: Non-zero possibility

In which we discuss physicists, kitties, and the joys of ignorance.

Cat inside a cardboard box.
I’m just tired of counting bodies.
Photo by: Felipe Rodriguez/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Today is the 132nd birthday of Erwin Schrödinger. One of the great polymaths of recent history, he contributed to quantum theory, thermodynamics, general relativity, and philosophy. He opposed Nazism and fled Austria after it fell to the brown shirts for Ireland. He lived a deeply unconventional private life. He was, in short, one of the most interesting dudes of the past century-plus and added more than just about anyone since to science.

And yet, much to his disgust, he became most famous for an imaginary cat. As a way to understand quantum mechanics, he proposed that a cat placed inside a sealed box with a mechanism that might kill it is neither alive nor dead, since there’s no way to know its current existential state without inspecting it. Only by opening the box and observing the cat can it be ascertained whether the cat is dead or alive. This analogy addresses the difficulties of ascertaining the superpositions of quantum systems.

To his credit, Schrödinger never actually performed this experiment; maybe he was a cat fancier (one can only hope), but it’s more likely that he created this thought experiment purely as a way to describe how philosophically tricky quantum mechanics are. He was famously irritated that other people took the question seriously, as it was meant to exist a paradox illustrative of a really weird problem in physics.

Fresh off a turbulent offseason, Fiorentina is the cat in the box. Changes to the squad, the management, and the overall emotional state surrounding the team seem immense, yes, but we can’t really quantify how immense until the season begins and we can observe the outcome, and by observing it, force it into existence.

While we here at VN are categorically opposed to anything that leads to any chance of death (or even mild discomfort) for a kitty, it’s worth pointing out that, sometimes, it’s better to leave the cat in the box for a little longer. Sometimes, not knowing the outcome and following hypotheticals and optimism to their (il)logical extremes is the best we can do. Let’s take the rest of this week for just that. Monza waits on Sunday and Napoli a week after that we’re going to know very soon whether or not this team is good. Let’s just let it exist in an undefined state for a little while longer, because there are too many times when to know something is to ruin it.

Latest news

Kevin-Prince Boateng addressed the press and picked number 10. He’s saying all the right things.

Riccardo Saponara is on his way to Genoa on loan, and we’re still bummed that such a classical player can’t find room in Florence.

We started hearing that Bologna’s Erick Pulgar was a serious target for Fiorentina, and just days later, he signed on the line in a fantastic piece of business.

After a bit of a kerfuffle, Fiorentina signed Bartłomiej Drągowski to an extension, ensuring that they have a long-term solution between the sticks.

Erick Pulgar is the latest transfer and picks number 7, eliciting shades of another Chilean who wore that shirt with distinction.

We weren’t too worried about results in the final preseason friendly against reigning Turkish champions Galatasaray, but a 4-1 win behind an absolutely irresistible performance definitely perked us up quite a bit anyways.

A swoop for AC Milan’s Suso is possible but we wouldn’t recommend getting too excited yet.

Must read

We spoke with Laziali founder and Lazio expert Steven Moore about Milan Badelj’s rather lost year in the capital and learned quite a bit.

We asked you if you trust Rocco Commisso now that he’s brought in some quality players, and you answered overwhelmingly in the affirmative.


Is Schrödinger’s cat alive or dead?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    (10 votes)
  • 4%
    (3 votes)
  • 52%
    (34 votes)
  • 27%
    (18 votes)
65 votes total Vote Now

Comment of the week

Joe Barone? Joe Barone.

That’s it for this week, folks.