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Quantum Shorts

Watch the winners and finalists

“It's wonderful to see so many people being inspired by the seemingly esoteric scientific concepts from quantum physics and finding creative ways to make them relevant to human stories,” says physicist and author Brian Greene, a Quantum Shorts judge. From over 170 entries to our 2018 call for entries, we selected ten finalists. From these finalists, three films have won further prizes: read about the awards.

The finalists range from fascinating sci-fi visions to absurdist takes on the multiverse. There are quantum detectives, love stories and science-inspired comedy. Watch all the films online here! You might also be able to catch the films on the big screen at special events being held around the world: check here for upcoming events.

News

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Latest Update

15 Apr 2019
We're delighted to announce the winners
4 Feb 2019
Ten films from eight countries make the shortlist - watch them now!
11 Dec 2018
With submissions closed, judging gets underway
  • "Sound and vibration come in discrete units called phonons, in the same way that light exists as photons. A superconducting device that can count phonons could lead to advances in quantum-information processing." https://t.co/RNOokJADWd via @nature 15 hours ago
  • Shall we play a game? #quantum #fridayfun https://t.co/71BTpSrLUZ 3 days ago
  • Quantum memories are essential components for quantum computers. However, making them remains difficult. Work by scientist in Hong Kong suggests a way that rubidium atoms could help: https://t.co/Yieh3LiFft 5 days ago
  • Many a #QuantumShorts draw inspiration from Erwin Schrödinger and his work. Here's one from 2013: The Cat in the Box https://t.co/XMkdlXqhIL 7 days ago

Organisers

Our Partners

Media Partners

  • Scientific American

Scientific Partners

Screening Partners

  • ArtScience Museum
  • Glasgow Science Centre
  • Otago Museum
  • Jamie Lochhead

    Jamie Lochhead is an innovative film-maker and Executive Producer with Windfall Films. He recently wrote and directed a film about Quantum Entanglement for NOVA, the award-winning U.S. Public Broadcasting Service's flagship science program.

  • Alex Winter

    Alex is a director, writer and actor. His award-winning films have played in festivals worldwide. Soon to be released is feature documentary Trust Machine, about the rise of bitcoin and the blockchain. Out now is Deep Web, an award-winning documentary about the online black market Silk Road, and the trial of its creator Ross Ulbricht.

  • Eliene Augenbraun

    Eliene Augenbraun has spent more than 30 years making sense of science for all kinds of audiences. She is the Multimedia Managing Editor for Nature Research Group, creating engaging video and audio stories for Nature and Scientific American digital media platforms. Previously she ran her own science news company, ScienCentral, which supplied ABC and NBC News with science news.

  • Artur Ekert

    Artur is the Director of the Centre for Quantum Technologies and Lee Kong Chian Centennial Professor at the National University of Singapore. He is also a Professor of Quantum Physics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, UK. His main research interest is information processing in quantum systems. Artur is a co-inventor of quantum cryptography, which uses the fundamental laws of physics to guarantee perfectly secure communication. He has worked, communicated with and advised several companies and government agencies.

  • Brian Greene

    Brian Greene is Professor of Physics and Mathematics at Columbia University in New York. He is widely recognized for groundbreaking discoveries in his field of superstring theory. He is also known to the public for his writing and media appearances. His first book The Elegant Universe has sold more than a million copies worldwide.

  • Honor Harger

    Honor Harger is the Executive Director for ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. A curator from New Zealand, she has a strong interest in artistic uses of technologies and in science as part of culture. Honor brings with her over 15 years of experience of working at the intersection between art, science and technology. She is responsible for charting the overall direction and strategy for ArtScience Museum.

Quantum Theories: A to Z

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.

L is for ...
Light

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!

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.

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.

K is for ...
Key

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

W is for ...
Wavefunction

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.

D is for ...
Dice

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.

N is for ...
Nonlocality

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.

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.

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.

U is for ...
Universe

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

T is for ...
Teleportation

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.

S is for ...
Superposition

Quantum objects can exist in two or more states at once: an electron in superposition, for example, can simultaneously move clockwise and anticlockwise around a ring-shaped conductor.

A is for ...
Act of observation

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

E is for ...
Entanglement

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.

C is for ...
Computing

The rules of the quantum world mean that we can process information much faster than is possible using the computers we use now.

T is for ...
Tunnelling

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.

I is for ...
Interferometer

Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer: the device’s output is a pattern that can only be explained by the photon passing simultaneously through two widely-separated slits.

K is for ...
Kaon

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

R is for ...
Randomness

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

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.

X is for ...
X-ray

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.

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.

Q is for ...
Qubit

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.

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.

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.

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!

M is for ...
Multiverse

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.

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.

R is for ...
Reality

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!

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.

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.

G is for ...
Gluon

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

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.

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”.

D is for ...
Decoherence

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

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.

I is for ...
Information

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.

P is for ...
Probability

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.

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.

C is for ...
Cryptography

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

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.

R is for ...
Radioactivity

The atoms of a radioactive substance break apart, emitting particles. It is impossible to predict when the next particle will be emitted as it happens at random. All we can do is give the probability that any particular atom will have decayed by a given time.

G is for ...
Gravity

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.

A is for ...
Atom

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

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