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Congratulations to the

2019 Quantum Matters™ Science Communication Competition Finalists!

Sue Shi: 1st Place + Audience Choice Award
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.

See the 2019 film

See the 2018 Telly Award-winning film

The four finalists wowed the judges and the crowds at the Museum's 2019 NanoDays with a Quantum Leap celebration. 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 awarded First Place to Sue Shi, and Second Place to Calvin Leung. Sue used several creative analogies to explain how nanocrystals called quantum dots might be used to produce next generation solar panels. Calvin used a clever casino game to explain the spooky phenomenon of quantum entanglement, and how we can use entanglement to create unhackable information security systems.

Finalist Gideon Bass, a lead research scientist at Booz Allen Hamilton, designed a quantum version of the 1970's computer game Pong to explain quantum uncertainty and its role in quantum computing. Finalist Aditya Jain, a graduate student at the University of Waterloo used the humorous analogy of an uncertain friendship to demonstrate superposition, logic gates, and measurement in a quantum computer.

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.

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.

Many thanks to the distinguished judging panel:

  • Dr. Joe Checkelsky, Professor of Physics, MIT
  • Dr. Diana Prado Lopes Aude Craik, Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University
  • Evan Hadingham, Senior Science Editor, NOVA, PBS Television
  • Dr. Brindha Muniappan, Director of Education and Public Programs, MIT Museum

More about the Quantum Matters Science Communication Competition

In the winter of 2019, we put out a call to quantum researchers: in 2–3 minutes, explain a concept related to their area of research in quantum science or technology and how it might matter to us in the future — and make it accessible for a family audience. Contestants submitted video entries, and 4 finalists were selected to perform before a live museum audience during the 2019 NanoDays celebration on Saturday, April 7. Each finalist received expert coaching, a cash award, professionally-produced photos wnd video, and other recognition.

We plan to hold the competition again in 2021 — stay tuned!

The 2018 Quantum Matters Science Communication Competition is sponsored by the Museum of Science and the Center for Integrated Quantum Materials with support from the National Science Foundation (# 1231319) Contact: quantum@mos.org.

CIQM logoAward No. 1231319 NSF logo MOS logo