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Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society continues brown bag lunch series Jan. 30, Allori to speak

January 17, 2013
Valia Allori

Valia Allori

Valia Allori, a professor in the NIU Department of Philosophy, will speak at noon Wednesday, Jan. 30, in the next brown bag luncheon presented by the NIU Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society.

The lunch takes place in the Illinois Room of the Holmes Student Center. Bring a lunch; light snacks, such as cookies and chips, will be provided. All are welcome.

Allori will speak on “Pandora’s Cat: The Story of the Cat that was Neither Dead nor Alive.”

This is the tale, maybe a bit romanticized, of the most quoted (and surely the most abused) cat in the history of physics and philosophy: the Schrödinger cat.

In 1935, Erwin Schrödinger, one of the founders of quantum mechanics, developed a thought experiment (involving a cat) devised to show that there had to be something wrong with quantum theory: if quantum mechanics is correct, then we would end up observing, for instance, cats who are dead and alive at the same time, which is absurd.

A lot of ink has been spent to discuss this experiment, commonly called the Schrödinger’s cat experiment, and the problem that it underlies, the measurement problem.

Nonetheless, there is still something to be said after all these years, and this is what will be discussed in this lecture, after having summarized what has happened in this regard in the last 80 years.

Allori has studied physics and philosophy first in Italy, her home country, and then in the United States. She has worked in the foundations of quantum mechanics, in particular in the framework of Bohmian mechanics, a quantum theory without observers.

For more information about the Jan. 30 event, email [email protected].