2019 Quantum Matters™ Science Communication Competition
Calvin Leung: 2nd Place + Audience Choice Award
Gideon Bass: Finalist
Aditya Jain: Finalist
Their charge was to create a fabulous, jaw-dropping, 3-minute talk explaining a concept related to their area of research in quantum science or technology and how it might matter to us in the future. They nailed it.
The four finalists wowed the judges and the crowds at the Museum’s 2019 NanoDays with a Quantum Leap Event. They used everything from computer games to suitcases as models to explain how scientists are learning to harness the special quantum behaviors of atoms, photons, and electrons in pursuit of powerful new quantum materials and technologies. An enthusiastic audience texted in votes and the result was a tie! Both Calvin Leung, a graduate student at MIT, and Sue Shi, a senior at Mount Holyoke College, received the Audience Choice Award. The judges deliberated as long as they could before awarding First Place to Sue Shi, and Second Place to Calvin Leung. Sue used several creative analogies to explain how nanocrystals called quantum dots could be used to produce next generation solar panels. Calvin used a clever casino game to explain how to prove the spooky phenomenon of quantum entanglement is real, and how we can use entanglement to create unhackable information security systems.
Finalist Gideon Bass, a lead research scientist at Booz Allen Hamilton, did a remarkable job using a quantum version of the 1970’s computer game Pong to explain quantum uncertainty and its role in quantum computing. University of Waterloo graduate student Aditya Jain used the humorous analogy of an uncertain friendship to demonstrate the most important aspects of quantum computing.
All four finalists put considerable effort into making their 3-minute presentations eye-catching and captivating. They each participated individual coaching sessions with the Museum of Science QMC team during the weeks leading up to the event. They were offered cash awards and certificates, and will receive professional photos and video productions of their presentations; and, of course, bragging rights for making it to the Finals of the National Quantum Matters™ Science Communication Competition.
Many thanks to the distinguished judging panel:
Stay tuned to see the videos...
More about the Finalists
First Place & Audience Choice Award: Sue Shi
Sue Shi is a senior majoring in physics at Mount Holyoke College. She’s combined her interest in physics and environmental sustainability in her undergraduate research. She grew up in China, then went to high school in Canada before coming to the US for college. This fall, she’ll be starting graduate school at Brown University. Sue used a series of creative analogies, including a “quantum suitcase” and a nod to the ever-popular Harry Potter movies, to explain how she and her colleagues are investigating the use of nanocrystals called quantum dots to create next generation solar panels.
Second Place and Audience Choice Award: Calvin Leung
Calvin Leung is a first-year graduate student in physics at MIT. Before that, he spent a year in Austria with a team researching quantum entanglement. Calvin designed a special casino game that demonstrates how a mysterious quantum phenomenon called entanglement can be used to create an ultra-secure communication network.
Finalist: Gideon Bass
Gideon Bass is a scientist working on quantum computing at Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington, DC. Before that, he got his PhD in physics from George Mason University concentrating in computer science and astronomy. Gideon paired his love of computer games and experience in quantum computing research to create “q-pong!,” a computer game that not only demonstrates the phenomenon of quantum uncertainty, but can also be run on a type of quantum computing system called a quantum annealer.
Finalist: Aditya Jain
Aditya Jain grew up in Kolkata, India and early on discovered a love for mathematics, physics, and computer science. These interests led him to pursue research in the field of quantum information. He’s now a graduate student at the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo. Aditya explained the basics of quantum computing thought the story of Alice and Bob, two friends who are not quite sure if they are friends until one of them makes a measurement.
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