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.
SHORTLISTED | Quantum Shorts 2020
Can the detective skills of Schrödinger Holmes tackle the quantum crimewave sweeping London? This animation by filmmaker Chris Willoughby, finalist in the 2018 Quantum Shorts film festival and winner of Quantum Shorts 2012, adds the quantum behaviour of particles into the clues.
Curious as to what is quantum behaviour and how do physicists observe them? Read this article by past Quantum Shorts fiction judge Chad Orzel: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chadorzel/2016/08/11/three-tricks-physicists-use-to-observe-quantum-behavior/?sh=76ac2e7524cc
Please tell us about yourself and the team that made the film.
I am just building an animation studio at home and making video games too. It is all interconnected.
You have entered Quantum Shorts many times now. What is different this year?
I am always trying to learn how to do better animation and each time I have done something for Quantum Shorts, it fits into what I am learning at the time. During the COVID-19 lockdown, there was a Miyazaki documentary, following 10 years of his life, available for free viewing. I thought it would be good to watch but did not expect to come away from it wanting to try 2D hand-drawn animation. Anyway, I gave it a shot and it is really fun. I will keep trying to do a better job at it. When I learned there was another Quantum Shorts call I decided to try to do a 2D hand drawn animation for the festival.
What are your inspirations and how did you come up with the idea for your film?
The Miyazaki documentary is one big inspiration. I was also extremely blown away by the book, The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson, two old school Disney animators. I cannot express how brilliant these animators are. Books from Michio Kaku, Brian Greene and Lisa Randall also helped me develop the idea for the film.
What makes you interested in quantum physics?
Quantum physics is inspiring because it is saying something about the true nature of reality. And it sparks off ideas.
Please share with us interesting details about you how made the movie.
I made the movie on a blackboard with chalk, but I found the fidelity too low. Chalk is quite blurry, so I used pencil too.
All the music was done with a Moog Grandmother synthesizer. I was playing it one night and thought I would record what I was playing and that turned into the soundtrack for Schrödinger Holmes.
What reaction do you hope for from viewers?
Just that people feel some entertainment.
What is your favourite science-inspired or sci-fi movie?
I like the book Solaris, I do not know if there is a great movie of it yet that does it justice. I think Hypercube is great.
What does being a Quantum Shorts finalist mean to you?
It means a lot to me, to get inspiration by being involved with such forward thinking, open minded people.
Chris Willoughby is a filmmaker in Australia.