Schrödinger developed the paradox, according to Eric Martell, (an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Millikin University), to illustrate a point in quantum mechanics about the nature of wave particles. At the very heart of quantum theory—which is used to describe how subatomic particles like electrons and protons behave—is the idea of a wave function. A wave function describes all of the possible states that such particles can have, including properties like energy, momentum, and position. "The wave function is a combination of all of the possible wave functions that exist," says Martell. "A wave function for a particle says there's some probability that it can be in any allowed position. But you can't necessarily say you know that it's in a particular position without observing it. If you put an electron around the nucleus, it can have any of the allowed states or positions, unless we look at it and know where it is."
"In any physical system, without observation, you cannot say what something is doing," says Martell. "You have to say it can be any of these things it can be doing—even if the probability is small."
So, here is the Paradox…
A cat is placed in a steel box along with a Geiger counter, a vial of poison, a hammer, and a radioactive substance. When the radioactive substance decays, the Geiger detects it and triggers the hammer to release the poison, which subsequently kills the cat. The radioactive decay is a random process, and there is no way to predict when it will happen. Physicists say the atom exists in a state known as a superposition—both decayed and not decayed at the same time.
Until the box is opened, an observer doesn't know whether the cat is alive or dead—because the cat's fate is intrinsically tied to whether or not the atom has decayed and the cat would, as Schrödinger put it, be "living and dead ... in equal parts" until it is observed. Immediately upon looking at the cat, an observer would immediately know if the cat was alive or dead and the "superposition" of the cat—the idea that it was in both states—would collapse into either the knowledge that "the cat is alive" or "the cat is dead," but not both.
A key proposition of quantum mechanics is that an observer has a relationship and direct influence on the thing it is observing. At Solar Ancestor we have talked about how the Beings from the Sun have inter-dimensional 'light-bodies' made of photons and neutrinos. Light can behave like either a wave or particle - depending on the observer.
Credit for the image below: pic of Erwin Schrodinger