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December 10, 2019

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The international Quantum Shorts competition is back!

Quantum Shorts is an annual, international competition aiming to produce quantum inspired artistic outputs in the form of either short videos (as in the 2018 round) or short stories (flash fiction) as is the theme this year.

Along with other stakeholders of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme (UKNQTP), our Quantum Communications Hub is again a scientific partner and we are calling our writers, budding and aspiring, to submit their entries!

We want stories of up to 1000 words long that take inspiration from the mind-blowing world of quantum physics. The Quantum Shorts competition is free to enter, offering prizes of up to US$1500. As before, this year’s writers will have a constraint to work with. Their stories must include the phrase “things used to be so simple”. This phrase was taken from the winning story of the 2017 edition of the competition, “Acceptable Loss” by Przemysław Zańko.

The Quantum Shorts competition started in 2012, alternating between annual calls for flash fiction and short films. It is organised by the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore, and encourages writers to imagine how quantum physics might impact future lives – or to explore the hidden effects it might already be having on the world around us.

Artur Ekert, CQT Director and one of the judges, says, “In these days of quantum computers and quantum satellites, even the news can read like sci-fi. We invite writers to explore behind the headlines and tell stories with emotion and imagination.”

Every year, Quantum Shorts is supported by a hard-working group of elite partners. Scientific American, the longest continuously published magazine in the U.S., and Nature, the international weekly journal of science, are media partners for the competition. The competition is also supported by its scientific partners, leading quantum research centres around the world. They are the Dodd-Walls Centre, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems, the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), the Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM)QuTech, and the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme.

Launching the competition in our Hub, the Director, Professor Tim Spiller, said: “Things are rarely certain in the quantum world, but given past competitions I’m pretty sure this latest one will generate another wave of imaginative and inspirational entries!”

From all the entries submitted, a panel of experts will shortlist 10 outstanding flash fictions before the competition’s distinguished judges select the winner and runner-up for the top prizes. The People’s Choice Prize from the shortlisted entries will be decided by public vote.

Submissions to Quantum Shorts can be entered via the website at http://shorts.quantumlah.org, which also features resources on quantum physics and a full set of rules and guidelines. The deadline for entries is 23:59 GMT, 29 February 2020.

Launching together with the new call for entries is an anthology of past winners and shortlisted entries from the flash fiction editions of the competition. The Quantum Shorts e-book presents stories ranging from bold imaginings of a quantum future to contemplations rooted in the everyday.

“We are very proud to launch this unique collection of extraordinary stories,” says Michael Brooks, who is one of the book’s editors. “Each of the authors offers a fresh and exciting take on our place in the quantum world.”

The e-book is free to download on the Google Play Store, Apple Books, Kobo stores, farisbooks.com, and the Quantum Shorts website.