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October 24, 2023

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Quantum Shorts flash fiction competition returns for one last call

The international Quantum Shorts flash fiction competition has opened a new call for entries. The contest is free to enter and is accepting submissions until 8 January 2024.  

Organised by the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore, this is the final open call in the competition series which has alternated between annual calls for creative quantum films and flash fiction since 2012. 

The UK National Quantum Technologies Programme supports the competition as a scientific partner via Quantum City along with other leading scientific institutions around the world. The competition is also supported by media partners Scientific American, the longest continuously published magazine in the U.S., and Nature, the international weekly journal of science.  

To enter, writers must craft a story no longer than 1000 words that takes inspiration from quantum physics. The story must also incorporate the phrase “nobody said this was going to be easy”.  

The phrase comes from a quantum researcher in “Helping Hands”, the last story to claim first prize in Quantum Shorts. In that story by Cora Valderas, the researcher was grappling with the unexpected outcomes of an experiment. Writers may empathise as they plot about the trials and tribulations of building quantum devices or the complexities and uncertainties that govern the quantum world. 

Writers will stand to win 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. 

A panel of distinguished judges will select the top two prizes. They are physicist and popular science author Chad Orzel, science writer George Musser, author and editor Ingrid Jendrzejewski, Director José Ignacio Latorre from the Centre for Quantum Technologies, speculative fiction writer Ken Liu, Senior Editor Leonardo Benini from Nature Physics, and writer and visual artist Tania De Rozario. 

“Humans love stories. That’s why we have supported Quantum Shorts for more than a decade. We were thrilled and surprised by all the ways writers got inspired by quantum physics in previous editions. Now we’re opening our final call, we hope to be amazed and astonished again,” says judge José Ignacio Latorre. 

The deadline to enter is 23:59 GMT, 8 January 2024. Entries can be submitted to Quantum Shorts via its website at shorts.quantumlah.org, which also features a full set of rules. The website also has resources on quantum physics and writing.