Quantum Locked Kids

Our whole family really enjoyed the Dr. Who episode “Blink,” especially my son. He now spends his time drawing Tardises and asking questions about time travel and angels.

One of the key ideas of the episode was a defense mechanism of the aliens: they are “quantum locked.” This means that if you observe them they turn to stone, and as The Doctor says, “you can’t kill a stone.” The analogy, of course, is to quantum mechanics where observation always has the effect of changing the system.

My discovery, however, is that “quantum locked” creatures are not really a science fiction concept at all. Children are quantum locked. I tell my son to put on his pajamas and he will only make progress while I am looking at him. As soon as I look away, or blink, he freezes. Kids are slow, slower than you can imagine, so if you tell them to do something don’t leave the room, don’t turn away, and don’t blink.

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