Schrödinger's Pizza

Thursday, September 13, 2018

I ordered a pizza last night and saw the following notice: "Caution. Contents may be hot." It struck me that it was not possible to know if the contents were hot or not hot without opening the box, and so the pizza was both hot and not hot at the same time. That sounds suspiciously like Schrödinger's Cat except without the quantum superposition, complicated math, or other Bohr-ing things. I got to wondering whether there were closet physicists at Papa John's, there were lawyers who just wanted to cover the company's ass-ets, or there was something else going on here. 

Domino's didn't seem to have any physicists, but may have lawyers and bakers since they seem to know their pizza is hot.

I went looking, and the Schrödinger warning seems to be fairly rare in the coffee world. In most of the warnings, the wave function has already collapsed to a known state. For example:

Interestingly, physics seems to be different in Canada. There, the coffee is neither hot nor cold.

What do we conclude from this? Papa John's has physicists and lawyers. Coffee companies have lawyers. Your pizza may be hot or it may be cold, but you won't really know until you open the box, unless the cat gets to it first…