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You've probably heard about Schrödinger's cat, which famously is trapped in a box with a kill mechanism that is activated if a radioactive atom decays, releasing radiation. The act of looking in the box collapses the atom's wave function -- the mathematical description of its state -- from a "superposition" of states to a definite state, which either kills the cat or let's it live to see another day.

But did you know that if you peek into the cat box frequently -- thousands of times a second -- you can either delay the fateful choice or, conversely, accelerate it? The delay is known as the quantum Zeno effect and the acceleration as the quantum anti-Zeno effect.

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Category: Science