Unpredictability lies at the heart of quantum mechanics. It bothered Einstein, but it also bothers the Dalai Lama.
We are excited to announce that the grand prize of Quantum Shorts 2014 goes to "20Hz". Its creators, UK-based duo Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, win SGD 2000 and a one-year subscription to Scientific American. Their film is also highlighted in a blog post by Scientific American's Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina, a competition judge, on scientificamerican.com.
20Hz is a visualisation of data captured during a geomagnetic storm in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. By forming a visible reality from the act of observation - in this case by the CARISMA satellite operated by the University of Alberta and funded by the Canadian Space Agency - the filmmakers play on the quantum idea of bringing things into definite states by looking at them. The way the forms emerge in the data also provokes the idea of wave-particle duality. Our judges loved it. Charlotte Stoddart, head of Multimedia at Nature, said, "20Hz is a beautiful and mesmerising film." Ben Bowie, Emmy-nominated director and producer at Bigger Bang Productions, called it "spooky, evocative and revealing."
Second prize of SGD 1000 and a one-year subscription to Scientific American goes to "Breaking the bond". This film tells the story of a man addicted to teleportation and time travel achieved - in the filmmaker’s imagination, at least - through use of the new wonder-molecule graphene. The film is "funny, with imaginative twists and quantum leaps" said Ariane Koek, a member of the CERN Cultural Board that encourages art-science collaborations. Charlotte Stoddart described it as a stand-out film with an "impressive mix of live-action and graphics" and editing that is "clever and captivating." Other judges variously described "Breaking the bond" as "funny", "weird" and "very odd" Clearly, you all enjoyed it though, because "Breaking the bond" is also the winner of our People’s Choice Award, as decided by public voting in a poll on the Quantum Shorts website.
We'd like to point out that the judges had praise for other shortlisted films too. For example, Scientific American's Mariette DiChristina liked "Verschränkung: Friend of Wigner's Friend" the best, while "The Scarf Solution" was among the favourites of quantum physicist Artur Ekert, Director of the Centre for Quantum Technologies and Honor Harger, Executive Director of Singapore's ArtScience museum.
Although we could only give two prizes, you can still enjoy all the films that made the shortlist here
Notes on the 2014 prize awards: (i) Judges watched and returned their verdicts on the films independently. In deciding the First Prize in the Open International category, we excluded the rankings of judge Honor Harger as she had a role in commissioning an earlier version of the film 20Hz. (ii) We have not awarded prizes in the Singapore student category this year because of lack of entries.