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October 6, 2015

Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science | Volume 2 | SCI-NEWS 20

Five-year thought experiment expected to come in well under budget

MONTREAL, QUÉBEC – A thought experiment funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada is expected to fall approximately C$500,000 short of its originally budgeted C$1.2 million. Dr. B. Mario Pinto, president of NSERC, remarked that this was a pleasant surprise, and that “such outcomes would likely stimulate the funding of future thought experiments.”

The five-year Discovery Grant was awarded to the Milner Lab Group of the Department of Philosophy at McGill University to conduct the following thought experiment: what if the prisoner in the famous Prisoner’s Dilemma was replaced with the cat from the Schrödinger’s Cat thought experiment?

The original budget called for over C$1 million in payroll, laboratory supplies, travel to conferences, and publication costs, but the Milner Lab group reported today that only about $C620,000 had been spent with just two months remaining on the grant. “It turns out that we really didn’t need the 10 high-powered computers or the high-output genome sequencer that we had asked for to run this thought experiment,” explained Dr. Ray Milner, principal investigator on the grant. “Really, we spent most of the money on some Funyons® and cat-related video games. We ate a lot of Funyons®.”

Despite spending just over half of their expected budget, Milner says that, thus far, the experiments have been a success. “Our working result of the thought experiment is that we think that Schrödinger’s cat, when arrested and presented with a decision to rat out their accomplice or stay silent, would knock a pen off the table and shit on the floor. We feel that this outcome best suited a cat’s independent nature.”


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