The Witcher 3 Has A Hidden Quantum Physics Joke
This should really come as no surprise, but we’re pretty sure that CD Projekt Red is full of nerds. Who else would slip a quantum physics joke into Witcher 3 but some geeks trying to make like-minded souls laugh at the expense of everyone else’s confusion?
Thankfully, I’m here to explain the joke and thus ruin it for literally every living being on Earth. You’re welcome.
First, kudos to Reddit user DaedlyDerp64 for tracking down the Letter to Gaetan from the sidequest “Take What You Want,” which you get only if you spare Gaetan’s life during the “Where The Cat And Wolf Play…” sidequest. So remember: let Gaetan live! You’ll get some cash and a funny little letter that references Schrodinger’s cat.
“It’s over,” reads the letter. “Soldiers have taken the school. They killed Axel and Cedric. As for Schrödinger, well, I can’t say for sure–might be alive, might be dead.”
That last bit about Schrödinger is the joke. No, it’s not particularly funny unless you know about Schrödinger’s Cat.
Erwin Schrödinger was an Austrian physicist who rubbed elbows with Albert Einstein way back in the 1930s. While trying to explain a real-world application of quantum superposition, Schrödinger imagined a device that read a quantum particle’s state and connected that device to a cat in a box. Schrödinger was evidently not a cat person because he connected a vial of poison to the box with the cat inside and wired it up in such a way that the vial would open and kill the cat if the quantum particle was in a particular state.
However, quantum mechanics states that one cannot know the state of a quantum particle until an observation is made. Actually, it gets weirder than that: a quantum particle is actually in all possible states until a specific point of observation. Thus, that vial of poison that was connected to the quantum reading machine was both open and closed because the quantum particle was everything at once. And that meant Schrödinger’s cat was both alive and dead at the same time.
See? It’s not really funny. This was definitely a joke devised before PETA was a thing. Keep in mind that no actual cats were harmed as this was just a thought experiment designed to explain a complicated topic in quantum physics, but that would never have stopped PETA.
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