There are broadly two streams of science: Quantum Theory (the sub-atomic small scale) and Relativity (the large scale on which gravity operates).

They both work, but the problem is that they are inconsistent with each other. Very embarrassing for physicists, who have spent decades looking for a Grand Unified Theory (GUT) or Theory of Everything (TOE) which integrates the two, but so far no-one has been able to do it.

Schroedinger was a famous Quantum Theorist, who proposed a thought experiment about a cat in a box. The idea is that at the quantum level, weird, counter-intuitive things happen. Particles can be in two different states at once, but as soon as an observer is involved, they resolve themselves into one state or another. Schroedinger invited us to imagine a cat in a box. We don’t know whether the cat is dead or alive – in fact according to the theory it is both dead and alive at the same time. However as soon as you open the box, the cat randomly becomes one or the other,  dead or alive.

This is my favourite science joke.

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