Shortlisting Panel

Andrew Hanson

Andrew has been an artist, botanist, filmmaker, musician, theatrical producer and for the last 12 years, Outreach Manager at the UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL). Much of his professional life was spent as a metrologist (measurement scientist) working in the ‘Quantum Metrology’ group as a senior researcher. Managing the explaining of NPL’s science to the masses has included overseeing and judging many film, poster and essay competitions. He has won awards for his own educational filmmaking work. In 2019 he received an MBE for services to STEM education.

Charles Woffinden

Charles Woffinden is an experimental physicist at The University of Queensland and the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS), where he conducts research on Bose–Einstein condensates and emerging quantum technologies.  He previously worked for a decade in the space industry developing imaging systems for satellites and space telescopes.  He holds a PhD in nanophysics.

David Hutchinson

David is a Professor of theoretical physics at the University of Otago and was, until April 2023, the founding Director of the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies – a New Zealand national Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE). David is dedicated to educational outreach and the promotion of Physics and STEM more broadly. He has initiated and led a successful public engagement partnership with the Otago Museum – of which he Chair of the Board board – as well as with other museums, schools and agencies throughout New Zealand. He is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Physics, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (UK) and a member of the Institute of Directors of New Zealand and is seconded half time to NZ’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment as a Science Advisor. His own research interests are eclectic, but include quantum phenomena in low temperature atomic physics, quantum information, quantum effects in biological systems and connections between quantum physics and number theory.

Georgia Mortzou

An archaeologist and evolutionary anthropologist by training, Georgia has spent over a decade working in professional research support. In early 2015, she joined the UK Quantum Communications Hub as its project manager and caught the quantum bug, an experience which made her question her life choices yet again, convinced her that a lot of fun could be had by paying more attention to physics classes at school and confirmed her suspicion that she was really a cat rather than a dog person. Obsessed with stories since her pre-literacy years, Georgia would still rather be spending any spare time reading - mostly fiction, memoirs and literary criticism publications, while also consuming big chunks of internet culture literary offerings, mainly in the form of podcasts, blogs and BookTube videos.

Jenny Hogan

Jenny is the manager of outreach and media relations at the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore. She has led the organisation of the Quantum Shorts contests since they began in 2012. Earlier in life, she studied physics at the University of Cambridge and worked as a science journalist in the UK for publications including Nature and New Scientist.

John Donohue

John is the Scientific Outreach Manager at the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo. John's job is to take university research out of the labs and off the whiteboards and make it accessible to students and teachers across Canada. John holds a PhD in Physics from the University of Waterloo, with a research specialization in single- and entangled-photon sources, ultrafast measurement, and quantum nonlinear optics.

Kian van der Enden

Kian obtained his Master's degree in Applied Physics at the TU Delft. During his studies he co-founded the Delft Hyperloop team where he designed and built its signature magnetic levitation system, leading it to a championship victory in Elon Musk's ‘SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition‘ in 2017. Following this, he worked at Microsoft's Quantum Architecture department as Research Intern in 2018 after graduating at QuTech on the development of a magnetic field insensitive superconducting qubit. Now, Kian is building the world's first metropolitan scale Quantum Internet in the Hanson lab, extending the success of the nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond as quantum network nodes with quantum frequency conversion to use readily available deployed fiber for communication. He aims to demonstrate a scalable and reliable hardware platform as the start of a future European Quantum Internet. Kian is also one of the QuTech Speakers. He gives talks to various audiences of all backgrounds and is often requested to appear on podcasts and TV shows. Next to this, he is one of the Faces of Science appointed by the KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences). In this role he explains through blog posts and public appearances what it is like to be a scientist. In his free time he is an active visual media consumer, from informative YouTube videos to award winning movies and guilty pleasure reality TV shows.

Mariagrazia Iuliano

Mariagrazia is an experimental quantum physicist. She graduated in Rome, Italy where she worked on Boson Sampling implementation. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student at QuTech in Delft, in the group of Prof. Ronald Hanson. Her work is focused on the development of a Quantum Internet stack using NV centers in diamonds as quantum processors. When she is not in the lab, she is also a movies and series enthusiast and believes that this form of art can naturally connect people with different interests.

Michael Brooks

Michael, who holds a PhD in quantum physics, is an author, journalist and broadcaster. He is a consultant at New Scientist and the author of numerous books including The Quantum Astrologer’s Handbook, Hollywood Wants to Kill You and the bestselling non-fiction title 13 Things That Don't Make Sense. He co-hosts the award-winning podcast Science(ish), which delves into the science behind popular culture.

Spiros Michalakis

Spiros grew up in Greece, solving math puzzles and playing video games with his brothers. After high school, he moved to Boston to study Math and Computer Science at MIT, before coming to sunny California for his PhD in Applied Mathematics at UC Davis. He is now at Caltech, where he splits his time between research on theoretical quantum physics and outreach for the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter. In the academic world, he is best known for his work on the Quantum Hall Effect. He was a scientific advisor for the film Ant Man and is one of the creators of qCraft for Minecraft, a mod that brings the principles of quantum physics to the Minecraft game. He was also the instigator of the short film Anyone Can Quantum (2016), a viral hit that featured a quantum chess match between Stephen Hawking and Paul Rudd.

Quantum Theories: A to Z

P is for ...

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.

Q is for ...
Quantum States

Quantum states, which represent the state of affairs of a quantum system, change by a different set of rules than classical states.

U is for ...

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

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.

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.

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.

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”.

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.

G is for ...

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.

T is for ...

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.

W is for ...

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.

A is for ...

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

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.

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!

D is for ...

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.

E is for ...

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.

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.

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.

A is for ...
Act of observation

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

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.

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.

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.

N is for ...

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.

D is for ...

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

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.

S is for ...

The feature of a quantum system whereby it exists in several separate quantum states at the same time.

G is for ...

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

M is for ...

Quantum physics is the study of nature at the very small. Mathematics is one language used to formalise or describe quantum phenomena.

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.

K is for ...

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

I is for ...

Some of the strangest characteristics of quantum theory can be demonstrated by firing a photon into an interferometer

C is for ...

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

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 ...

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

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.

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.

X is for ...

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.

C is for ...

The most precise clocks we have are atomic clocks which are powered by quantum mechanics. Besides keeping time, they can also let your smartphone know where you are.

T is for ...
Time travel

Is time travel really possible? This article looks at what relativity and quantum mechanics has to say.

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.

Q is for ...

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.

L is for ...

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!

C is for ...

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.

R is for ...

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!

S is for ...

Researchers are harnessing the intricacies of quantum mechanics to develop powerful quantum sensors. These sensors could open up a wide range of applications.

T is for ...

The arrow of time is “irreversible”—time goes forward. On microscopic quantum scales, this seems less certain. A recent experiment shows that the forward pointing of the arrow of time remains a fundamental rule for quantum measurements.

I is for ...

Many researchers working in quantum theory believe that information is the most fundamental building block of reality.

T is for ...

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.

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.

M is for ...

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.

K is for ...

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

E is for ...

As the world makes more advances in quantum science and technologies, it is time to think about how it will impact lives and how society should respond. This mini-documentary by the Quantum Daily is a good starting point to think about these ethical issues. 

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