Singapore’s Centre for Quantum Technologies, along with Scientific American and Tor.com, are sponsoring a short-short fiction contest. Quantum Shorts 2013 is looking for stories of no more than 1,000 words that take their inspiration from quantum theory. They write “Quantum physics is a crazy theory but every experiment done so far backs it up: the world really is a crazy place. Particles can be in more than one place at the same time and quantum computers really could solve in a flash problems that make today’s supercomputers stumble. Even teleportation isn’t science fiction. But fiction is what we’re looking for. After last year’s Quantum Shorts film competition drew some fantastic short films, this year we want stories.”
Stories must be submitted by 1 December 2013, for seven prizes that range up to 2,000 Singapore dollars (approximately US$1,500). Entries will be separated into three categories: Open International, Student International, and Student Singapore, and short lists will be generated by the judges, who will then choose the winners, while public votes will also be solicited via the contest’s web site, http://shorts.quantumlah.org/. for a people’s choice award of 1,000 Singapore dollars. Stories must be uploaded to the site, where they will be made publicly available under a Creative Commons license.
“The more you learn about quantum theory, the more it stretches your imagination. I look forward to seeing how people entering our contest are inspired by their glimpse into the quantum world,” said Artur Ekert, Director of the Centre for Quantum Technologies and a judge for the Quantum Shorts contest. Ekert is one of the co-inventors of quantum cryptography, a technique for secure communication that harnesses quantum behavior.
Patrick Nielsen Hayden, senior editor at Tor Books will also act as a judge, and points out the value of having imaginative writers interact with the frontiers of science. “Science fiction can’t tell us what science will discover. But it can often tell us how we’ll feel about it when that happens,” he says.
Judges in the Open International category (who will select the winner and runner-up) include: Mark Alpert (author and Scientific American contributing editor), Mariette DiChristina (Scientific American‘s editor), Artur Ekert (Director of the Centre for Quantum Technologies), Pawel Frelik (President of the Science Fiction Research Association), Tania Hershman (writer-in-residence at Bristol University), Jason Erik Lundberg (author and founding editor of LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction), Lisa Randall (professor of theoretical particle physics and cosmology at Harvard University), Patrick Nielsen Hayden (editor at Tor Books), and John Scalzi (author).
Judges in the Student categories include: Jennifer Megan Crawford (professor at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University), Kwek Leong Chuan (Principal Investigator at the Centre for Quantum Technologies), Pang Kian Tiong (researcher and designer for the Science Centre Singapore), Paul Tan (Director of Visual Arts for Singapore’s National Arts Council, and Festival Director of the Singapore Writers Festival), and Vlatko Vedral (Principal Investigator at the Centre for Quantum Technologies).