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Monday, March 27, 2023

Asserting the quantum-steampunk short-story contest!

The 12 months I began finding out calculus, I took the helm of my highschool’s literary journal. All through the following two years, the editorial board flooded campus with poetry—and poetry contests. We papered the halls with flyers, constructed shows within the library, celebrated Nationwide Poetry Month, and jerked college students awake at morning meeting (hitherto referred to as the quiet child you’d seek the advice of in the event you didn’t perceive the homework, I turned out to have a humorousness and a stage presence suited to quoting from that honored poet Dr. Seuss.1 Who’d’ve thought?). A file variety of contest entries resulted.

That limb of my life atrophied in school. My school—a stereotypical liberal-arts affair full with pink bricks—boasted a literary journal. However it additionally boasted English and comparative-literature majors. They didn’t want me, I reasoned. The solar should set on my days of engineering creative-writing contests.

I’m delighted to be consuming my phrases, in saying the Quantum-Steampunk Quick-Story Contest.

The Maryland Quantum-Thermodynamics Hub is operating the competition this educational 12 months. I’ve argued that quantum thermodynamics—my area of analysis—resembles the literary and creative style of steampunk. Steampunk tales mix Victorian settings and sensibilities with futuristic applied sciences, equivalent to dirigibles and automata. Quantum applied sciences are cutting-edge and futuristic, whereas thermodynamics—the research of power—developed through the 1800s. Impressed by the primary steam engines, thermodynamics wants retooling for quantum settings. That retooling is quantum thermodynamics—or, in the event you’re feeling whimsical (as each physicist ought to), quantum steampunk.

The competition opens this October and closes on January 15, 2023. Everybody aged 13 or over could enter a narrative, written in English, of as much as 3,000 phrases. Minimal information of quantum idea is required; in the event you’ve heard of Schrödinger’s cat, superpositions, or quantum uncertainty, you possibly can pull out your typewriter and begin punching away. 

Entries should fulfill two necessities: First, tales should be written in a steampunk fashion, together with by going down not less than partially through the 1800s. Transport us to Meiji Japan; La Belle Époque in Paris; gritty, smoky Manchester; or a camp of immigrants unfurling a railroad throughout the American west. Be happy to set your story partially sooner or later; time machines are welcome.

Second, every entry should characteristic not less than one quantum expertise, actual or imagined. Actual and under-construction quantum applied sciences embody quantum computer systems, communication networks, cryptographic methods, sensors, thermometers, and clocks. Experimentalists have realized quantum engines, batteries, fridges, and teleportation, too. Shock us along with your imagined quantum applied sciences (and encourage our subsequent research-grant proposals).

In an improve from my high-school days, we’ll be awarding $4,500 value of Visa present certificates. The grand prize entails $1,500. Entries may win in classes to be finalized through the judging course of; I anticipate labels equivalent to Quantum Expertise We’d Most Wish to Have, Most Badass Steampunk Hero/ine, Finest Scholar Submission, and Folks’s Selection Award.

Our judges run the gamut from writers to quantum physicists. Decide Ken Liu‘s newest novel peered out from a window of my native bookstore final month. He’s received Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards—the topmost three prizes that pop up in the event you google “science-fiction awards.” Appropriately for a quantum-steampunk contest, Ken has pioneered the style of silkpunk, “a expertise aesthetic based mostly on a science fictional elaboration of traditions of engineering in East Asia’s classical antiquity.” 

Emily Brandchaft Mitchell is an Affiliate Professor of English on the College of Maryland. She’s authored a novel and printed brief tales in quite a few venues. Louisa Gilder wrote one of many New York Instances 100 Notable Books of 2009, The Age of Entanglement. In it, she imagines conversations by means of which scientists got here to grasp the core of this 12 months’s Nobel Prize in physics. Jeffrey Bub is a thinker of physics and a Distinguished College Professor Emeritus on the College of Maryland. He’s additionally printed graphic novels about particular relativity and quantum physics together with his artist daughter. 

Patrick Warfield, a musicologist, serves because the Affiliate Dean for Arts and Programming on the College of Maryland. (“Programming” as in “actions,” quite than as in “writing code,” the that means I encounter extra usually.) Spiros Michalakis is a quantum mathematician and the director of Caltech’s quantum outreach program. Chances are you’ll know him as a scientific guide for Marvel Comics movies.

Walter E. Lawrence III is a theoretical quantum physicist and a Professor Emeritus at Dartmouth School. As division chair, he helped me carve out a distinct segment for myself in physics as an undergrad. Jack Harris, an experimental quantum physicist, holds a professorship at Yale. His workplace there comprises paintings that options dragons.

College of Maryland undergraduate Hannah Kim designed the advert above. She and Jade LeSchack, founding father of the college’s Undergraduate Quantum Affiliation, spherical out the competition’s management crew. We’re standing by in your submissions by means of—till the quantum web exists—the hub’s web site. Ship us one thing to dream on.

This contest was made attainable by means of the assist of Grant 62422 from the John Templeton Basis.

1Come to consider it, Seuss helped me put together for a profession in physics. He coined the phrases wumbus and nerd; my PhD advisor invented NISQ, the identify for a class of quantum units. NISQ now has its personal Wikipedia web page, as does nerd

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