T icon

Where Science Meets the Arts

It's World Quantum Day, with scientists globally celebrating advances in the field. Dodd-Walls acknowledges those who can navigate the arts AND physics.

Where Science Meets the Arts
published on:


reading time:
5 Mins
A Verboeket

Quantum physics has provided inspiration for creatives for decades. Now in the spirit of that tradition, the Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore has announced the winners of its long running Quantum Shorts Flash Fiction competition.

Te Whai Ao — Dodd-Walls Centre supports the contest as a scientific partner, alongside other leading scientific institutions around the world. Former Dodd-Walls Director, Professor David Hutchinson has been a judge for several years and this year, an Auckland University alumna made the shortlist.

First Prize has gone to the author of “A World in Threads” – in which a girl searches for a perfect

reality through many worlds. “The Observer”, where the emergence of observers within an

observed universe causes problems, is the Runner Up. A public poll on the shortlist chose “Root

Consciousness”  for the People’s Choice Prize.


One of the ten shortlisted finalists was Dr Pippa Storey. She did a Master's thesis at the University of Auckland in quantum optics with Professor Dan Walls, after whom the Dodd-Walls centre is named. She went on to complete a PhD in France, also in quantum optics, with Nobel prize winner, Professor Claude Cohen-Tannoudji. Dr Storey is now a Research Associate Professor of Radiology at New York University, where she develops techniques for MRI.

Dr Storey’s shortlisted entry was entitled Quantum cake à la Solvay , a story in verse about the history of physics, creatively expressed through the medium of a rhyming cake recipe.

She told the Quantum Shorts team “I have always loved reading but rarely, if ever, heard the voices of scientists and mathematicians represented in literature. During the pandemic, I decided to try writing some fiction of my own.

“To date, I’ve had two other stories published. Links to those stories, plus some of my videos and MRI-based digital artwork, are available on my personal webpage: https://sites.google.com/view/pippastorey

Quantum Shorts has alternated between annual calls for science fiction and science films since2012. The international competition received a record 650 entries in what was declared the final round in 2023.  Writers were asked to incorporate the phrase “nobody said this was going to be easy” and keep their stories to not more than 1,000 words.

Pippa Storey told the organisers she was pleased to take part.

“I applaud the Centre for Quantum Technologies and its partners for their efforts to foster interest in science and understanding of scientific concepts outside the narrow confines of academia. In this time of extreme polarisation, when even science is politicised, such engagement is vital for the welfare of society and the maintenance (or restoration!) of functioning democracy.”

Professor David Hutchinson praised the competition for its ability to bring a different audience to engage with the science and foster connections that might not otherwise occur.

read more