• A Kids’ Magic Show and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Bizarre, but Cool.

    So I was at the Mega-Multiple Meet Up in Moors Valley Country Park at the weekend. I have twin 2 year-old boys and our twin club and many other twin clubs around the region got together for a massive multiples family day out, with picnics and activities. Over 120 families (and a lot didn’t register) turned up.

    And so did a kids’ magician by the name of Mr Merlin and Okey Dokey the Dragon. This burly children’s entertainer had a colourful and well-polished magic / comedy act, the sort of act (like the Simpsons and many animated films) that works on two levels, one for the kids and the other for the adults. His comments to the children were almost always proceeded by a swift aside to the adults. And it worked: the guy was pretty funny.

    However, the part that made me sit up (by alerting my geek radar) and say “Did he just say that?” was when he was trying to magic a flower from the end of his wand. He had wound the children up and finally magicked his wand but nothing happened. He held his wand up in the air (behind his head slightly) in mock despair and the flower popped out of the end of the wand. The children laughed, and he looked sideways, bringing the wand back down in front of him. The flower disappeared en route. He lifted it back up again in despair and the flower reappeared out of his sight. The children laughed and he brought it down again for it to disappear.

    This went on some ten times, after which he declared to the children, “So every time I look at it, it disappears, and every time I don’t look at it, it reappears?” To which the children shouted “Yes!” He followed the shout with the immortal children’s entertainment line: “It’s just like the Hesienberg Uncertainty Principle!”

    Wow. Legendary! I was so excited that on returning to our picnic area, I declared this geekiness to a couple of other dads and was almost as excited to find out that they too had noticed.

    The moral of the story? Children are never too young to learn about quantum indeterminacy.

    Category: Random


    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce