One of the most useful things I learned from Big Bang Theory is about Schrodinger’s Cat. For faithful viewers, that is not related to the fluffy kitty song. Not being a physicist, I can only give you a basic explanation of the principle.
Schrodinger’s idea was that you would lock a cat in a box with a poison canister and a timer with an unknown setting. His theory was that since no one knew when the poison would be released, no one would know if the cat was dead or alive. You could think of it either as dead or alive at any given point. Until you opened the box, you would not know which one. Therefore, at any time, you could think of the cat as both dead and alive.
The experiment was to illustrate the Heisenberg uncertainty principle in a practical setting. We cannot know the exact location or speed of an electron without measuring it. This would be done by opening the box to find either a dead cat, or an angry and probably murderous cat.
This experiment proved two things, that the uncertainty principle had validity in the real world, and that Schrodinger was apparently a dog person. Also, that if Schrodinger actually had a cat, he had never tried to give it a bath.
Not tested was whether PETA would be more up in arms about the dead cat or the live one. Of course, they are the same cat until PETA frees it. At that point, we would know, and the experiment would only prove that some people are against killing cats. It might also result in the blinding of several well-intentioned activists, and certainly in never seeing the cat again.
Schrodinger did not actually perform the experiment, which probably explains for the failure to realize several problems with this theory. The principle is sound, but a guinea pig is a better option. First, you would have a hard time getting most cats into a box. Oh, they’ll sleep in a box, but only if you don’t want them in the box. A guinea pig would be happy to go in a box, and has smaller claws.
Second, you would likely never have to wonder whether the cat was alive or dead. It would probably tell you very loudly it was alive and unhappy with the situation. If you were unsure, simply shaking the box would answer the question.
But, I suppose “Schrodinger’s Guinea Pig” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.