ABCNews (Australia) reports:
"Schrödinger's cat is in a quantum superposition state of being both alive and dead at the same time, and only by opening the box and looking at the cat does it become one or the other." Scientists have demonstrated quantum superposition using atoms and molecules, but it's never been seen in normal everyday life.
...To understand what was happening, Zych and colleagues turned to another famous theory of science - Einstein's theory of general relativity.
Zych and colleagues discovered that the tiny vibrations of atoms are also affected by gravitational time dilation - vibrations are slower closer to a mass such as the Earth, and faster further away. "We've shown how changes in time caused by gravity affect the ability of an object to be in different quantum states simultaneously," says Zych. "Even the small effect of the Earth's mass will still impact the quantum state of an object, and the bigger the object the greater the effect," says Zych.
At the quantum level this doesn't interfere with quantum superposition. But this all changes once these atoms form larger objects such as molecules and even bigger structures - like a cat.
Zych and colleagues findings are reported today in the journal Nature Physics.