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Quantum Shorts

Presenting this festival’s finalists

“Weirdly compelling,” was one judge’s comment. “A very adventurous concept,” said another. “Creative and funny,” came a third verdict. Now you can watch the ten films picked by our shortlisting judges from submissions to Quantum Shorts in 2018. Thanks to everyone who entered!

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 then cast a vote for your favourite to help decide the People’s Choice prize. The films will be screened at live events around the world: check here for events near you.

News

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Latest Update

4 Feb 2019
Ten films from eight countries make the shortlist - watch them now!
11 Dec 2018
With submissions closed, judging gets underway
26 Sep 2018
Quantum Shorts 2018 is open to submissions until 1 December
  • The "Wigner's Friend" thought experiment supposed that two independent observers can experience different realities. For the first time, this theory was put to the test in a state-of-the-art 6-photon experiment. Read more: https://t.co/7uTk890LGX 7 hours ago
  • RT @skdh: If it's possible to communicate faster than light-speed, all advanced civilizations would use this method. Therefore, a possible reason why we have never heard from any extra-terrestrial civilization is that we haven't yet developed the commonly used communication channel. 13 days ago
  • The Quantum Shorts finalists are screening in New Zealand at the @OtagoMuseum this weekend! Following a launch event today with physicists from our scientific partner @DoddWalls, there will be drop-in screenings Sat and Sun. Near #Dunedin? Go see! https://t.co/QOOweVB2GJ https://t.co/fz0lqrSJt7 14 days ago
  • RT @ArtSciMuseum: 3. Explore the idea of parallel worlds in Gluon Free, an animation by Chris Willoughby. https://t.co/maeQJqWmwW 20 days ago

Organisers

Our Partners

Media Partners

  • Scientific American

Scientific Partners

Screening Partners

  • ArtScience Museum
  • Glasgow Science Centre
  • Otago Museum
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Quantum Theories: A to Z

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!

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.

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.

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.

G is for ...
Gluon

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

U is for ...
Universe

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

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.

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.

I is for ...
Information

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

K is for ...
Kaon

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

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.

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.

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.

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”.

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.

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.

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.

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.

K is for ...
Key

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

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 ...
Act of observation

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

R is for ...
Randomness

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

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!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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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