A slight science journalism FAIL in a story at iO9, originally from the New Scientist:
the Title: “First Quantum Effects Seen in Visible Object”
the Lede: “Does Schrödinger’s cat really exist? You bet. The first ever quantum superposition in an object visible to the naked eye has been observed.”
the Discovery: “[researchers showed] that a tiny resonating strip of metal – only 60 micrometres long, but big enough to be seen without a microscope – can both oscillate and not oscillate at the same time.”
the Wait, what?: “Alas, you couldn’t actually see the effect happening, because that very act of observation would take it out of superposition.” (emphasis added)
Okay: this is one of those times where “seen” (in the title) should not be used to mean “observed”. And I’d play down the “first time seen in a visible object”/”naked eye” angle, since – regardless of the scale of the object – the quantum effect itself is by definition not “visible”.
Could this be some kind of journalistic riff on the Schrodinger’s Cat paradox (dead, not dead; seen, not seen)? Perhaps this article is a FAIL and a not-FAIL at the same time, but if you read it, you spoil the effect?
Read the article and tell me what you think. Especially the physicists. Does it sound silly to you, too?