Constellation’s Nod To An 89-Year-Old Thought Experiment Hints At Its Central Theme
4 mins read

Constellation’s Nod To An 89-Year-Old Thought Experiment Hints At Its Central Theme

Warning! Contains major spoilers for Constellation.




  • Apple TV’s Constellation delves into quantum superposition with nods to Schrödinger’s Cat, exploring both scientific and philosophical concepts.
  • The show uses creative visuals and narrative blanks to keep viewers intrigued, hinting at the potential dangers of delving too deep into the unknown.
  • Through references to thought experiments, Constellation poses as a cautionary tale about the consequences of curiosity while exploring the quantum realm.

Apple TV’s Constellation drops several nods to an 89-year-old thought experiment, which hints at what its central theme is all about. Seemingly unfolding the events of two parallel realities, Constellation‘s first four episodes are jampacked with twists and turns that gradually unravel the tapestry surrounding its central scientific concepts and their fictional and philosophical implications. So far, the Apple TV+ sci-fi series has brushed over everything from quantum superposition to the observer’s effect, leaving viewers curious about how these scientific concepts will further materialize in its storyline.

Instead of merely talking about these concepts, Constellation follows the golden rule of storytelling and uses creative visuals to put its ideas on display. To ensure viewers remain intrigued throughout its runtime, the show also draws enough blanks in its narrative to leave room for speculation. For instance, Constellation‘s episode 4’s ending arc secretly refers to a famous thought experiment, allowing audiences to theorize the direction of its overarching storyline.


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Constellation’s Schrödinger’s Cat Reference Explained

Irish physicist Erwin Schrödinger’s “Schrödinger’s Cat” thought experiment imagines a hypothetical cat in a box. With the cat, a device that releases poison based on the behavior of a radioactive atom is placed inside the box. Based on quantum superposition, the atom will be in both decayed and non-decayed states at the same time before the box is opened. Since a decayed atom would trigger the poison and kill the cat, while the non-decayed one would have the opposite effect, the cat would be both dead and alive at the same time because the decayed and non-decayed states exist simultaneously.

Constellation draws a similar picture where its protagonist, Jo, is alone on the International Space Station with a CAL experiment triggering quantum superposition in her surroundings. Like the cat is simultaneously dead and alive unless an outsider opens the box, Jo is also split between the two sides of the coin of fate until the people on Earth hear from her. Apart from drawing a direct parallel to the thought experiment, Constellation‘s episode 4 features another intriguing reference to Schrödinger Cat when Henry looks at Jo and tells her that “curiosity killed the cat.

Schrödinger’s Cat Nod Hints Constellation Is A Cautionary Tale Of Venturing Into The Unknown

Jonathan Banks as Henry looking in the mirror in Constellation

Henry saying “curiosity killed the cat” in Constellation‘s episode 4 can be interpreted as a warning for attempting to observe the unknown. Just as opening the box in Schrödinger’s experiment resolves the superposition and reveals the cat’s fate, probing too far into understanding the secrets of the universe can lead to dire consequences. Henry and Bud already seem to be aware of the potential dangers of delving too deep into the uncharted territory of the quantum realm. If Jo keeps letting her curiosity get the best of her in Constellation, she, too, might find herself in a precarious situation.



episodes premiere every Wednesday on Apple TV+.

Constellation Apple TV Poster Temp


Constellation is a sci-fi psychological thriller written and created by Peter Harness for Apple TV+. After facing a crisis in space, Astronaut Jo returns to Earth only to discover nothing is quite the same – and that her sanity may be slowly slipping from her grasp.

Noomi Rapace , Jonathan Banks , James D’Arcy , Lenn Kudrjawizki , William Catlett , barbara sukowa , Carole Weyers

Release Date
February 21, 2024


Streaming Service(s)
Apple TV+

Peter Harness

michelle maclaren

Peter Harness

Peter Harness

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