2018 QUANTUM MATTERS(TM) SCIENCE COMMUNICATION COMPETITION
Winners Announced! Srujan Meesala - 1st Place Jessica Pointing* - 2nd Place Joseph Yoon - Finalist Rebecca Engelke - Finalist *Audience Choice Award Winner!
From left: Karine Thate (MC), Srujan Meesala, Rebecca Engelke, Joseph Yoon, Jessica Pointing Judges Comments: “They all did an excellent job. They were very creative in the ways they explained exotic quantum behavior." "I don’t know how they fit so much into three minutes. I was very impressed with their visuals and their ability to communicate slowly and clearly. It's something I myself aspire to."
The four finalists wowed the judges and the crowds at the 2018 NanoDays celebration at the Museum of Science, Boston. They used everything from light sabers to pink frosted donuts 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 sufficient votes to make Harvard undergraduate Jessica Pointing the Audience Choice winner, and the judges deliberated as long as they could before awarding First Place to Srujan Meesala, a CIQM graduate student in Marko Loncar's lab, and Second Place to Jessica.
Rebecca Engelke, finalist from Philip Kim's lab, also did a remarkable job explaining the role of topology in designing special materials, and Joseph Yoon, finalist from the Nelson Group at MIT, demonstrated single atom control of photonic switches. Srujan and Jessica both tackled quantum computing, with Srujan focusing on qubits and Jessica on the algorithms needed to make qubits do useful work.
All four finalists put considerable effort into making their 3-minute presentations eye-catching and captivating. They each participated in two individual coaching sessions with the Museum of Science QMC team during the two weeks leading up to the event. All will receive professional photos and video productions of their presentations, and, of course, bragging rights for making it to the Finals of the world's first Quantum Matters(TM) Science Communication Competition.
Many thanks to our distinguished Judges: MIT Professor Joe Checkelsky, Harvard Professor Evelyn Hu, NOVA Senior Producer Chris Schmidt, and Museum of Science Senior Educator Sue Stoessel.
Stay tuned to see the videos...
DETAILS: GUIDANCE GIVEN FOR ENTERING THE COMPETITION:
Currently involved in research in quantum science and technology at undergraduate, graduate, post-doctoral, or faculty level.
Available to perform at the Museum of Science on Saturday, April 7, 2018.
Available for 1 or 2 private coaching session(s), between March 30 – April 6 at the Museum.
Can provide own transportation to and from the Museum (parking provided).
Length: 2 – 3 minutes
Contestants may—but are not required to—use slides, props, and/or demos.
All material must be original, or used with permission, with rights cleared for worldwide internet posting.
Contestants will allow the Museum of Science to make use of their talk and associated materials for educational purposes, with appropriate credit.
Finalists invited to present on April 7 will sign a photo/video release.
Deaf and hard-of-hearing contestants may request an ASL interpreter.
All material must be suitable for family audiences.
How well the speaker explains to a public audience one or more key concept(s) in quantum science or technology, and how it might matter to us in the future.
Quality of audience engagement.
The judging panel will include senior researchers, science communication experts, and science journalists. An audience choice prize will also be awarded.
1st prize: $200 VISA gift card
2nd prize: $100 VISA gift card
3rd & 4th finalist awards: $ 50 VISA gift cards
Audience Choice Award: $ 50 VISA gift card (in addition to prize awarded by judges)
All finalists will also receive expert coaching, an award certificate, and photo. Their presentations will be professionally videotaped, edited, and posted on a Museum of Science YouTube Channel and will be available for embedding on other websites and submitted to the NSF 360 News site. Finalists will also receive publicity in a Museum of Science print publication, the Museum of Science website, and the CIQM website.
Winners will have bragging rights, and a great public engagement activity to list on their CV.
Participants will help Museum of Science educators gain new ideas for communicating about quantum science and technology to public audiences.
Entry and Notification Process:
All entries must be submitted by midnight on March 16, 2018.
Create and share a video of your presentation (submit Youtube/Vimeo link on the application form)
Finalists will be notified via email by March 24.
Individual coaching sessions will be scheduled between March 30 – April 6, at the Museum of Science.
Finalists should be prepared to present on the afternoon of April 7 at the Museum.
Transportation to and from the Museum is the responsibility of the finalist.
Advice for Quantum Matters™ Contestants:
Focus on inspiration and engagement - create one or more big "aha" moments.
What matters most is your connection with your audience. The audience for this competition is science-interested families.
Make it personal
Make it dynamic
Make it dramatic
Make eye contact
Give them room to breathe
Connect to the familiar
Connect to shared interests and concerns
Visuals can either enhance your impact, or they can take away from it.
Do they support, illustrate, and illuminate your narrative, or do they siphon off the audience's connection with YOU? (Don't fall into the research-presentation trap of putting your talk on your slides. You want the audience's eyes and attention on YOU, except when you purposely direct them to view what is on the screen or in your hand.)
Make visuals big! One to a slide. No small text.
Black backgrounds make images and graphics pop out, and don't wash out in photos and video.
Don't be shy about using big props if you think they will help.
Be imaginative, within the framework of accuracy.
It is impossible to be 100% precise in explaining quantum theory and mechanics without equations and complex terminology; but for this audience, use plain words, analogy, metaphor, demonstration, and visualization to get as close to the truth as possible.
Many people in the audience will not have been exposed to common metaphors in quantum, such as 'Schrödinger's cat' or 'Alice and Bob.' Don't be afraid to create new metaphors for a new era.
Try your piece out on others.
Time yourself. Better to cut content than to rush through.
Whether or not you are selected as a Finalist,
You will have sharpened your science communication skills.
Augmented your CV with a new public engagement effort.
We hope you can join us for the live Finals event at MOS, on Saturday April 7, 2018.