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.
Our panel of illustrious judges was blown away by the quality of the shortlisted films. Ben Bowie, twice Emmy-nominated producer of Discovery Channel's Stephen Hawking's Universe, declared himself amazed. "I'm very impressed by the variety, and the effort people put into this," said Bowie, who is Creative Director at Darlow Smithson Productions. "I think it's safe to say each and every film has something special."
Jeremy Webb, editor-in-chief of New Scientist called the quality of the story-telling superb. "I am really impressed that quantum theory can inspire such creativity," he said.
CQT's director, quantum physicist Artur Ekert, said the constraints of the competition made it a real challenge. "Given that the subject matter is difficult I thought it was an interesting collection to watch."
We asked the judges to rate their top three films, and from this we sought a winner and runner-up. In addition, we asked people to vote for their favourite: the People's Choice.
First prize of 2000 Singapore dollars (just over £1000) goes to the animation Quantum Daughter, an astonishing snapshot of life in a future where we can travel between different universes. Lisa Randall, Harvard University professor of theoretical physics and author of Knocking on Heaven's Door, acclaimed it as easily her favourite. "It's clever, creative, had some of the physics and is funny," she said. Ariane Koek, who leads the arts-science programme at CERN in Geneva, also marked it as a favourite, calling it "original, quirky and funny, as well as technically good." Read an interview with the team that made the film here.
For the runners-up prize, the judges showed an even split, with no way of choosing between two films. So, the runners-up prize of 1000 Singapore dollars (just over £500) is shared between Alice in Quantumland and Heisenberg.
Alice in Quantumland uses the quantum trick of existing in more than one place to open up a romantic opportunity. This, according to Lonce Wyse, Director of the Arts and Creativity Lab in the Interactive and Digital Media Institute at the National University of Singapore, had "good cinematography and a rich connection to various aspects of quantum theory." Webb liked the fact that you don't need to understand quantum theory to follow the plot. "I think it introduces people to some funky quantum effects in an intriguing, humorous, enjoyable way," he said.
Heisenberg's cheeky dialogue tickled many of the judges. "It's pretty funny," Randall said. Bowie agreed. "It's funny and sexy," he said. "Who'd have thought that was possible in a film about quantum physics?"
All the judges agreed that it wasn't easy picking out winners from such a strong field. "I would like to congratulate all the directors on their imaginations and the skill with which they have told their stories," Webb said.
And the People's Choice? Well, hundreds of you voted, and Alice in Quantumland came out on top.
Finally, Cat in the Box also clinched a prize. It was selected by our Singapore judges as the winner of the Singapore Schools award open to Singapore students.
Congratulations to the winners, and to all entrants to a competition that surpassed expectations!