2019 Quantum Matters™ Science Communication Competition Challenges Researchers and Enthusiasts to Engage Public Audiences with the Potential of New Quantum Technologies
BOSTON — The Museum of Science, Boston has announced the launch of the national Quantum Matters™ Science Communication Competition, inviting quantum researchers and enthusiasts from around the country to submit their best ideas for inspiring young people to explore the ground-breaking fields of quantum science and technology.
Quantum science, first introduced to the world in the late 1920s, has reentered the public sphere through a second quantum revolution. Harnessing the unusual behaviors that emerge at the smallest dimensions of matter, today’s quantum scientists and engineers are poised to develop powerful new information technologies that promise to transform sensing, computing, and cybersecurity. In December, Congress passed the National Quantum Initiative Act to stimulate U.S. research and education amidst a worldwide race to develop quantum-enabled technologies. Companies like IBM, Google, and Microsoft are competing to build quantum computers that promise to solve problems far out of reach for conventional computers.
“Sparking excitement for quantum science is the starting point for growing a quantum-smart workforce,” said Jake Taylor, Assistant Director for Quantum Information Science at The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “Fostering that passion for discovery and providing opportunities to use those skills in school, internships, or work-based learning is critical to maintaining America’s leadership and innovation in quantum information science.”
While quantum science is not yet widely offered in K-12 curricula, and universities like Harvard and MIT are just now beginning to launch quantum education initiatives, the Museum of Science seeks to break new ground by making quantum science accessible to all.
“We need to inspire the next generation of quantum researchers and encourage them to begin to innovate, quantum mechanically,” said Evelyn Hu, Co-Director of Harvard’s new Quantum Initiative (HQI), “This fun event accomplishes one of the recommendations of the National Strategic Overview for Quantum Information Science, which specifically highlights the importance of reaching out to young people and broader audiences.”
The 2019 Quantum Matters™ Science Communication Competition includes two components: a Talk Competition challenging quantum researchers to create and deliver a three-minute talk explaining a key concept related to their research, and a Hands-on Competition, open to anyone, to design an interactive activity demonstrating a key quantum concept, for use in science museums and classrooms. Both competitions challenge participants to introduce broader audiences to the mysteries of quantum science and how its applications might impact society in the future.
In total, eight individual or team finalists will be selected to present their work at the Museum of Science, Boston to thousands of visitors during the Museum’s Nano Days with a Quantum Leap event on April 5th and 6th. Finalists will receive professional coaching, stipends, travel to Boston, and the opportunity to compete for cash prizes.
“We were blown away by the quality of the entries in last year’s pilot Quantum Matters™ Competition,” said Carol Lynn Alpert, director, Strategic Projects, at the Museum of Science, “Quantum technology used to be the stuff of science fiction, but these young scientists brilliantly demonstrated real ways to apply it to matters of practical significance.”
More information about the Quantum Matters™ Science Communication Competition and submission forms are available here. The deadline to submit is March 1, 2019.
The film of the 2018 pilot competition, featuring the live performances of the 2018 finalists is available here: http://www.mos.org/qmc2018.
Support for the Quantum Matters™ Competition comes from the National Science Foundation, through the Harvard-based Center for Integrated Quantum Materials (Award #1231319).