Leo’s Uncertainty

Your rating: None
Average: 3 (1 vote)

SHORTLISTED | Quantum Shorts 2020

About the Film: 

After a long day of study, the physicist Leo imagines himself experiencing life as an electron. Leo’s Uncertainty by Paulina Hevia and Gabriel Kauer from Chile offers a dark cinematic take on quantum phenomena such as the uncertainty principle, evoking the intensity of researching something that refuses to be understood.

Are you looking for more certainty about the uncertainty principle? Physicist Brian Greene explains more in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAtH4VwuFcc


Please tell us about yourself and the team that made the film.

We are Paulina Hevia and Gabriel Kauer, two filmmakers from Santiago, Chile. Driven by a passion for cinema, in 2015 we started working dedicatedly on our own independent film projects. We have been working together ever since, sometimes as co-authors, and sometimes as collaborators. More recently, we founded Paracosmos films, a production house specialised in experimental and innovative films. We have created experimental short films such as Tanz IAbisal and Leo’s Uncertainty, which have been selected and exhibited in different festivals. We have also been working on our first feature length film called El Borde, which is in the final stage of postproduction.

How did you come up with the idea for your film?

We started from the premise of doing a film inspired in quantum physics and talked about several subjects and possibilities. After a long discussion, we realised that the most interesting thing for us was the possibility of showing in a cinematic way actions that are impossible in a classical framework, but not in a quantum one. Then, the idea of a young physicist imagining himself as being an electron or another quantum particle became the best option to combine different actions in a coherent way.

What makes you interested in quantum physics?

Within all the fields and subjects of science, quantum mechanics is probably one of the most challenging because it takes to the limits our capabilities of imagination. Many of the actions and phenomena that quantum mechanics describes are simply impossible for us to picture in an intuitive way. The arts in general, but especially cinema, gives us the possibility of challenging this impasse and to try to, nevertheless, create an image inspired by an imageless event.

Please share with us an interesting detail about you how made the movie.

The film was made entirely, from the very beginning to the end, by two people. We already had some experience in the different stages of the filmmaking process, but this time we really had to do everything by ourselves, including acting. Gabriel played Leo, our only character. This was due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What reaction do you hope for from viewers?

Most of all, we hope everyone enjoys our film. We would love it if viewers find it interesting, unexpected, or simply a pleasant experience. For those viewers that are vaguely familiar with the subject of quantum mechanics, this film might be particularly interesting, because it allows some sort of quantum interpretation. However, we also think that those completely unfamiliar with the subject might also enjoy it, for this film was made with the intent of allowing several layers of interpretation. We celebrate and encourage every particular interpretation and experience of the viewer.

What is your favourite science-inspired or sci-fi movie?

It is impossible for us to name a single movie, or even a few, as our favourites. We have enjoyed so many good science-inspired movies, documentaries, and science fiction films that we would have to name way too many. We especially appreciate science fiction movies, like 2001: A space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, or Tarkovsky’s Solaris and Stalker, to name just a few.

We would definitely love to make our own sci-fi movie in the future.

What does being a Quantum Shorts finalist mean to you?

We feel honoured and grateful for the selection, which is for us an incredible opportunity. As soon as we found out about this festival, we knew it was the festival for us. It was a great incentive for making a film about a fascinating subject. The Quantum Shorts finalist selection means that all the work we went through was definitely worthwhile.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about you or your film?

We would like to say to all that we hope you enjoy the film. It is incredible that we can share our work with viewers from all around the globe, so we would like to acknowledge and say thanks to the festival and everyone involved, for making it possible. We will continue creating films, hopefully improving in doing so, and we are looking forward to sharing them with all of you.


About the filmmaker(s): 

Paulina Hevia and Gabriel Kauer are filmmakers from Santiago, Chile.

Share this film

Quantum Theories: A to Z

T is for ...

This happens when quantum objects “borrow” energy in order to bypass an obstacle such as a gap in an electrical circuit. It is possible thanks to the uncertainty principle, and enables quantum particles to do things other particles can’t.

K is for ...

Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is a way to create secure cryptographic keys, allowing for more secure communication.

K is for ...

These are particles that carry a quantum property called strangeness. Some fundamental particles have the property known as charm!

C is for ...

People have been hiding information in messages for millennia, but the quantum world provides a whole new way to do it.

G is for ...

These elementary particles hold together the quarks that lie at the heart of matter.

W is for ...
Wave-particle duality

It is possible to describe an atom, an electron, or a photon as either a wave or a particle. In reality, they are both: a wave and a particle.

G is for ...

Our best theory of gravity no longer belongs to Isaac Newton. It’s Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. There’s just one problem: it is incompatible with quantum theory. The effort to tie the two together provides the greatest challenge to physics in the 21st century.

S is for ...
Schrödinger Equation

This is the central equation of quantum theory, and describes how any quantum system will behave, and how its observable qualities are likely to manifest in an experiment.

L is for ...

We used to believe light was a wave, then we discovered it had the properties of a particle that we call a photon. Now we know it, like all elementary quantum objects, is both a wave and a particle!

T is for ...

Quantum tricks allow a particle to be transported from one location to another without passing through the intervening space – or that’s how it appears. The reality is that the process is more like faxing, where the information held by one particle is written onto a distant particle.

R is for ...

Since the predictions of quantum theory have been right in every experiment ever done, many researchers think it is the best guide we have to the nature of reality. Unfortunately, that still leaves room for plenty of ideas about what reality really is!

M is for ...

Quantum physics is the study of nature at the very small. Mathematics is one language used to formalise or describe quantum phenomena.

A is for ...
Alice and Bob

In quantum experiments, these are the names traditionally given to the people transmitting and receiving information. In quantum cryptography, an eavesdropper called Eve tries to intercept the information.

M is for ...

Our most successful theories of cosmology suggest that our universe is one of many universes that bubble off from one another. It’s not clear whether it will ever be possible to detect these other universes.

E is for ...

As the world makes more advances in quantum science and technologies, it is time to think about how it will impact lives and how society should respond. This mini-documentary by the Quantum Daily is a good starting point to think about these ethical issues. 


B is for ...
Bell's Theorem

In 1964, John Bell came up with a way of testing whether quantum theory was a true reflection of reality. In 1982, the results came in – and the world has never been the same since!

B is for ...
Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC)

At extremely low temperatures, quantum rules mean that atoms can come together and behave as if they are one giant super-atom.

Q is for ...

One quantum bit of information is known as a qubit (pronounced Q-bit). The ability of quantum particles to exist in many different states at once means a single quantum object can represent multiple qubits at once, opening up the possibility of extremely fast information processing.

Q is for ...
Quantum States

Quantum states, which represent the state of affairs of a quantum system, change by a different set of rules than classical states.

Q is for ...
Quantum biology

A new and growing field that explores whether many biological processes depend on uniquely quantum processes to work. Under particular scrutiny at the moment are photosynthesis, smell and the navigation of migratory birds.

A is for ...

This is the basic building block of matter that creates the world of chemical elements – although it is made up of more fundamental particles.

P is for ...

Quantum mechanics is a probabilistic theory: it does not give definite answers, but only the probability that an experiment will come up with a particular answer. This was the source of Einstein’s objection that God “does not play dice” with the universe.

H is for ...
Hawking Radiation

In 1975, Stephen Hawking showed that the principles of quantum mechanics would mean that a black hole emits a slow stream of particles and would eventually evaporate.

I is for ...

Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer

P is for ...
Planck's Constant

This is one of the universal constants of nature, and relates the energy of a single quantum of radiation to its frequency. It is central to quantum theory and appears in many important formulae, including the Schrödinger Equation.

E is for ...

When two quantum objects interact, the information they contain becomes shared. This can result in a kind of link between them, where an action performed on one will affect the outcome of an action performed on the other. This “entanglement” applies even if the two particles are half a universe apart.

A is for ...
Act of observation

Some people believe this changes everything in the quantum world, even bringing things into existence.

D is for ...

Unless it is carefully isolated, a quantum system will “leak” information into its surroundings. This can destroy delicate states such as superposition and entanglement.

C is for ...

The rules of the quantum world mean that we can process information much faster than is possible using the computers we use now. This column from Quanta Magazine ​delves into the fundamental physics behind quantum computing.

U is for ...
Uncertainty Principle

One of the most famous ideas in science, this declares that it is impossible to know all the physical attributes of a quantum particle or system simultaneously.

Y is for ...
Young's Double Slit Experiment

In 1801, Thomas Young proved light was a wave, and overthrew Newton’s idea that light was a “corpuscle”.

W is for ...

The mathematics of quantum theory associates each quantum object with a wavefunction that appears in the Schrödinger equation and gives the probability of finding it in any given state.

R is for ...

Unpredictability lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. It bothered Einstein, but it also bothers the Dalai Lama.

D is for ...

Albert Einstein decided quantum theory couldn’t be right because its reliance on probability means everything is a result of chance. “God doesn’t play dice with the world,” he said.

L is for ...
Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

At CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, this machine is smashing apart particles in order to discover their constituent parts and the quantum laws that govern their behaviour.

S is for ...

Researchers are harnessing the intricacies of quantum mechanics to develop powerful quantum sensors. These sensors could open up a wide range of applications.

X is for ...

In 1923 Arthur Compton shone X-rays onto a block of graphite and found that they bounced off with their energy reduced exactly as would be expected if they were composed of particles colliding with electrons in the graphite. This was the first indication of radiation’s particle-like nature.

M is for ...
Many Worlds Theory

Some researchers think the best way to explain the strange characteristics of the quantum world is to allow that each quantum event creates a new universe.

F is for ...
Free Will

Ideas at the heart of quantum theory, to do with randomness and the character of the molecules that make up the physical matter of our brains, lead some researchers to suggest humans can’t have free will.

I is for ...

Many researchers working in quantum theory believe that information is the most fundamental building block of reality.

O is for ...
Objective reality

Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, said there is no such thing as objective reality. All we can talk about, he said, is the results of measurements we make.

H is for ...
Hidden Variables

One school of thought says that the strangeness of quantum theory can be put down to a lack of information; if we could find the “hidden variables” the mysteries would all go away.

T is for ...

The arrow of time is “irreversible”—time goes forward. On microscopic quantum scales, this seems less certain. A recent experiment shows that the forward pointing of the arrow of time remains a fundamental rule for quantum measurements.

J is for ...
Josephson Junction

This is a narrow constriction in a ring of superconductor. Current can only move around the ring because of quantum laws; the apparatus provides a neat way to investigate the properties of quantum mechanics and is a technology to build qubits for quantum computers.

C is for ...

The most precise clocks we have are atomic clocks which are powered by quantum mechanics. Besides keeping time, they can also let your smartphone know where you are.

N is for ...

When two quantum particles are entangled, it can also be said they are “nonlocal”: their physical proximity does not affect the way their quantum states are linked.

S is for ...

The feature of a quantum system whereby it exists in several separate quantum states at the same time.

S is for ...
Schrödinger’s Cat

A hypothetical experiment in which a cat kept in a closed box can be alive and dead at the same time – as long as nobody lifts the lid to take a look.

U is for ...

To many researchers, the universe behaves like a gigantic quantum computer that is busy processing all the information it contains.

Z is for ...
Zero-point energy

Even at absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible, nothing has zero energy. In these conditions, particles and fields are in their lowest energy state, with an energy proportional to Planck’s constant.

T is for ...
Time travel

Is time travel really possible? This article looks at what relativity and quantum mechanics has to say.

V is for ...
Virtual particles

Quantum theory’s uncertainty principle says that since not even empty space can have zero energy, the universe is fizzing with particle-antiparticle pairs that pop in and out of existence. These “virtual” particles are the source of Hawking radiation.

Copyright © 2024 Centre for Quantum Technologies. All rights reserved.