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.
As the curtains close on our last film screening event, we are shifting gears to the written word. Writers: Tease out a story from the many possibilities of the quantum world to enter the Quantum Shorts competition. Our new call for flash fiction opens today and is accepting entries until 16 December 2021.
The contest is free to enter. Prizes up for grabs include a First Prize of USD 1500, a Runner Up prize of USD 1000 and a People’s Choice prize of USD 500. Up to ten shortlisted entries will also win a USD 100 shortlist prize and a one-year digital subscription to Scientific American.
Like the universe follows physical laws, the contest has rules too. Entries must take inspiration from quantum physics and be no longer than 1000 words. The stories must also include the phrase “it’s a lot to think about”. This phrase was taken from Fine Print, first prize winner in the 2019/2020 edition of Quantum Shorts by C. R. Long.
Writers have their pick of issues and topics to ponder: from what quantum mechanics says about reality to breakthroughs in computing and communication technologies, or the ethical decisions that society will face as quantum science progresses, such as who has access to powerful new technologies and what they are used for.
“Quantum mechanics is entering a crazy phase full of possibilities. It is timely to think deeply about these possibilities – how they will impact humanity and the ways society will respond Writers, exercising their imagination and thoughtfulness, can be prescient. It will be a privilege to read the stories they tell,” says judge José Ignacio Latorre, Director of the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore.
Joining José Ignacio Latorre on the judging panel are physicist and popular science author Chad Orzel, science writer George Musser, author and editor Ingrid Jendrzejewski, science communication expert Lindy Orthia, software engineer Mariia Mykhailova from Microsoft Quantum, and writer and visual artist Tania De Rozario.
CQT is the organiser of the event and is delighted to have as media partners Scientific American, the longest continuously published magazine in the U.S., and Nature, the international weekly journal of science. Joining as scientific partners are leading quantum research institutions around the world: the Dodd-Walls Centre, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems, the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM), QuTech, and the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme.
It’s a lot to think about, but do not think for too long. The deadline to enter your stories is 23:59 GMT, 16 December 2021. Submit your entries to Quantum Shorts via the website. Help yourself to our resources on quantum physics and writing, and read our full set of rules here.