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.
SHORTLISTED | Quantum Shorts 2020
Quantum physics and sibling rivalry intersect in this alternate reality comedy. A family project by Paul, Felix, Petra and Alfie Ratner, Quantum SuperImposition presents a funny and original take on quantum superposition and entanglement.
Researchers in 2018 designed an experiment to find out what really happens in a superposition. Read Scientific American’s article on the topic: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/quantum-physics-may-be-even-spookier-than-you-think/
Please tell us about yourself and the team that made the film.
I am a writer, filmmaker, and educator. I have written for years for BigThink.com and other outlets on transformative scientific research, history, and current events. My award-winning films like the true-life adventure Moses on the Mesa and the science documentary The Caveman of Atomic City have played at film festivals around the world. Felix is my son, an emerging filmmaker (he is ten), and a big physics aficionado. He also loves programming video games. Felix has written and directed dozens of short films. Petra is a producer and organizer of the Sarasota Film Festival, while Alfie is the youngest member of the team – he is a five-year-old kindergartener who enjoys being mischievous.
How did you come up with the idea for your film?
We like discussing physics ideas and were fascinated with quantum superposition. We also found it weird and potentially funny, so we were looking to find a way to represent this somewhat confusing concept in an amusing but thought-provoking way. Having two funny kids in the mix who already bother each other all the time gave us the theme of brother rivalry. We also wanted to simply show (without leaving our house) a situation where multiple states of reality come to exist at the same time and going in and out of a room was an easy enough thing to pull off.
What was the quantum inspiration for the film?
The quantum inspirations for our short were the concepts of quantum superposition and quantum entanglement. We wanted to show them in unexpected and memorable ways. I am fascinated in understanding the way the universe works and as an educator always looks for ways to explain very complex thoughts in engaging and clear ways. Felix finds remarkable the idea of super-small things that have big implications on the entire world and our whole existence.
Please share with us an interesting detail about you how made the movie.
An interesting detail about production — this was a family project and we made the film without leaving our home, because of a COVID-19 lockdown in Florida. We used green screens to make our storytelling more expansive.
What reaction do you hope for from viewers?
We hope the viewers will laugh at the funny bits and think about the concepts involved.
What is your favourite science-inspired or sci-fi movie?
Felix’s favourite is Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. My favourite film is Stalker by Tarkovsky.
What does being a Quantum Shorts finalist mean to you?
We love being Quantum Shorts Finalists as the competition has collected a great group of science and media experts for judges and it is an honour to be considered for awards. We also love that the competition is international in scope. We enjoy making projects that reach people around the world.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about you or your film?
We would like to make more films inspired by quantum physics, expanding what people know about these important scientific ideas that can transform the way we see our life.
Paul Ratner is a writer, filmmaker, and educator. Felix Ratner is an emerging filmmaker.