Schrödinger’s club: an experiment on the duality of James Hird


To take Schrödinger’s thought experiment about the cat in the box and replicate it in the environment of modern day football.

In the original experiment, a hypothetical cat (one of those fluffy breeds, I think) is placed in a metal box with a Geiger counter containing a small amount of radioactive material and a hammer hovering above a tube of hydrocyanic acid. If the radioactive material in the counter decays by one atom over the hour of the cat’s occupancy of the box, the hammer will fall and break the tube, killing the cat. If no decay occurs the cat remains unharmed. As we are unable to observe what has happened inside the box, the cat can be considered to be simultaneously in two contradictory states: alive and dead.


The subject – a club legend turned coach
The club – a football club (both a construct and physical premises)
1 poorly documented supplement program
1 federal body
1 club president
1 football administration more interested in the appearance of things rather than the reality
3 measuring devices of the current state of the subject: a Fairfaxometer, a Murdochogram and a Twitteroscope.


Wait several years for elaborate back story to evolve. Insert poorly documented supplement program followed by shaken federal body and football administration. Politically opportune and grossly premature announcements and penalties imposed on vague grounds should occur as reaction to insertion.

Subject and club will be sufficiently agitated that a challenge to the legality of investigation by federal body (with deliberately broad investigative powers) will ensue. Subject and club will lose badly – so badly that the judge awards costs and says in his judgement that even had they won, there would be nothing stopping the federal body from subsequently legally regathering the same evidence and re-laying relevant charges. Arrange for ‘strong’ legal advice which apparently suggests good prospects for the success of an appeal despite the seeming magnitude of the loss.

Observe club, financially stretched already and concerned about pointlessness of appealing when federal agency can go and get the evidence again anyway, decide not to appeal. Meanwhile the subject will bafflingly appeal, despite seeming pointlessness and likely irreparable damage it will inflict on relationship with club.

Note subject’s invitation to club best and fairest will immediately evaporate while club president gives speech not acknowledging subject’s existence. Wait 12 hours. The next bit is vital. The following day, amid fierce measuring device agitation, insert club president into door of football club followed by subject.


As the inside of the club cannot be witnessed, the subject can be considered to be occupying the dual but contradictory states of coach / not coach as we do not know if the president has acted. To enhance the paradox a reading from the Fairfaxometer states ‘not coach’ while a reading from the Murdochogram states ‘coach’. The twitteroscope appears to have exploded with both readings – it is a notoriously unreliable gauge.

An interesting post experiment observation is that the subject appears to have retained some of the duality after emerging from the club. While he claims to be in the state of ‘coach’, it could be observed that for all intents and purposes he still occupies the ‘not coach’ state.


We have successfully created an analogue for the Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment in a real life context. We were able to verify subject as simultaneously coach / not coach for the period of time he was in the club. Henceforth Essendon shall be known as Schrödinger’s club. Schrödinger’s cat has had significant utility in developing the application of quantum mechanics, such as quantum computing. However, there appears to be no utility in Schrödinger’s club other than, perhaps, as a precautionary tale.

N.b. Author has no real understanding of quantum mechanics and is wilfully misunderstanding the original experiment in an attempt to make with the funnies. This article will not be seeking peer reviewed publication.

About Dave Brown

Upholding the honour of the colony. "Play up Norwoods!"


  1. Thanks Dave, I let out a rather raucous laugh on reading the end of the experimental Aim, which brought my wife, who was in the bathroom brushing her teeth, rushing into the room. Because I was unobservable from the bathroom she wasn’t sure if I was laughing or having a heart attack. The irony of her thinking I was either very alive or almost dead added to my enjoyment of your immensely amusing cautionary tale.

  2. Hilarious! Neils Bohr would state that anyone that understands what is going on with the Schrodingers doesn’t actually understand what is going on at the Schrodingers. I’m none the wiser.

  3. Notwishstanding I always felt Schrodinger was being unnecessarily cruel to the cat for the sake of science, this comparison to EFC and Hird is very very clever. Well done

    I’ll grab a complimentary PhD out of petty cash for you

  4. Tony Robb. says


  5. Malcolm Rulebook Ashwood says

    Very clever Dave as Rabs would testify a tad too intellectual for the other redleg writer on the site

  6. Dave Brown says

    Thanks for the comments. Glad your wife was able to assess your state for the affirmative Jmoro. Bohr makes me feel slightly happier about my own lack of understanding, Rabs (both Schrodinger and Hird). I’ll happily pocket a complimentary PhD, Sean, I’d even accept a somewhat derisory one (Adelaide Uni just gave an honorary one to Paul Kelly, so they’ve probably used up their Redleg supporter quota for the time being). And, Rulebook, there’s no such thing as too intellectual for a Redleg writer.

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